Friday 23 March 2018

Police interview doctor in probe into Prince's death

Investigators are looking into whether Prince died from an overdose
Investigators are looking into whether Prince died from an overdose

A Minnesota doctor saw Prince twice in the month before his death - including the day before he died - and prescribed him medication, according to the contents of a search warrant.

The details were revealed as authorities returned to the musician's Minneapolis estate as part of their investigation into what killed him.

Michael Todd Schulenberg treated Prince on April 7 and April 20, and prescribed medications for the musician, according to the warrant.

Investigators interviewed Dr Schulenberg and searched a suburban Minneapolis hospital where he worked. The warrant did not specify what medications were prescribed or whether Prince took them.

A law enforcement source said investigators are looking into whether Prince died from an overdose and whether a doctor was prescribing him drugs in the weeks before his death.

Dr Schulenberg is the second doctor whose name has surfaced in the investigation. Last week, a lawyer for California addiction specialist Howard Kornfeld told reporters that Prince's representatives had contacted him seeking help a day before the superstar was found dead on April 21.

On Tuesday, a sheriff's car and about a dozen unmarked vehicles entered the gates of Paisley Park. Asked what investigators were doing, Carver County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Jason Kamerud said they were "being thorough".

Mr Kamerud declined to answer questions about the warrant that names Dr Schulenberg, saying it was supposed to be sealed. He also said that after the contents were made public, he contacted a court administrator to ensure the warrant was sealed.

The warrant was carried out last Thursday at North Memorial Medical Centre in the Minneapolis suburb of Robbinsdale.

Lesa Bader, a spokeswoman for North Memorial Medical Centre, said Dr Schulenberg was a primary care physician at its Minnetonka clinic but he no longer works for the health care system.

Dr Schulenberg's April 7 treatment of Prince came the day he cancelled shows in Atlanta citing illness. Prince played shows on April 14, and during his return home on April 15, his plane made an emergency stop in Moline, Illinois. Police said Prince was found unconscious on the plane and first responders gave him a shot of Narcan, which is used in suspected opioid overdoses.

Dr Schulenberg told a detective he was dropping off results of tests performed on Prince when he came upon the death scene, according to the warrant. He also told the detective he had prescribed Prince "medications.

The warrant sought "any and all medical records, documents, reports, charts, photographs, prescriptions, doctor notes and medical images for Prince Rogers Nelson".

The warrant also notes an interview with Kirk Anthony Johnson, a Paisley Park staff member and sometime drummer for Prince, who told another detective that Prince visited the Highway 212 Medical Centre not far from Paisley Park for "an illness" in 2014 or 2015. Johnson told the detective that Prince had been given fluids during the visit.

Press Association

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