Carver County authorities release data from two years of Prince death investigation

Included in the photos released today are shots of Prince's vault door.
Included in the photos released today are shots of Prince's vault door.
Carver County Sheriff's Office

With the investigation into the death of Prince now closed, the vast amount of information that police collected is now public. Authorities in Carver County released more than 15 gigabytes of data, including witness interviews, videos, and photos from the suburban Minneapolis home where the music superstar died of an opioid overdose almost two years ago.

Carver County Attorney Mark Metz said Thursday that Prince ingested counterfeit pills that included the powerful painkiller fentanyl. But Metz said because investigators were unable to determine who supplied those drugs, no one would be charged.

Several hours after Metz's news conference, the county released thousands of computer files from the inquiry. They include photos and video of Prince's body lying in the hallway near an elevator at Paisley Park. Electrodes from recent medical tests are visible on his arms and legs.

Other images show pill bottles from the drugs Prince took. And there are also photos from every nook and cranny of the Chanhassen home and studio: stacks of tape reels, notes about possible gigs, and the handwritten phone numbers of other musicians. There's the mundane as well: medical bills, a back-tax notice, laundry piled atop a washer and dryer, food in the fridge, and clutter under the sink.

Included in the photos released today are shots of lyrics.
Included in the photos released today are shots of lyrics, prices for private concerts and tax delinquency notices.
Carver County Sheriff's Office

Investigators released audio of interviews they conducted with people who knew Prince. His limo driver Kimberly Pratt told Detective Chris Wagner that she'd taken Prince to the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis a few days before he died. Pratt said she had never seen the musician use drugs.

"That's why I was so shocked when all of this came out. He was very meticulous about his diet and what he ate," Pratt is heard saying on the recording.

Pill bottles found at the scene of Prince's death
Pill bottles found at the scene of Prince's death include prescriptions in his name for Clonidine and Diazepam.
Carver County Sheriff's Office

Authorities did not release interviews with Prince's sister, Tyka Nelson, or with Kirk Johnson, to whom a Twin Cities doctor prescribed pain medication intended for Prince.

Those recordings are on a list of 40 items not available to the public.

Attorney Joe Tamburino says Minnesota's Data Practices Act requires police to release nearly everything once they finish an investigation. Exceptions include private information about people and extremely graphic photos. Tamburino says pictures of Prince's body may shock fans, but there's no legal reason to keep them hidden.

"It's hard to see somebody like Prince, but that is not so graphic that it should be withheld from the public," Tamburino said. "Remember that the operating theory is that if the government has information on you, they should release it to the public unless it's still under investigation."

With the Carver County case closed, it also appears unlikely federal authorities will tackle the Prince investigation. The U.S. Attorney's office in Minneapolis says it too has not received any credible evidence that would lead to criminal charges.

Reporters Nina Moini and Peter Cox contributed to this story.

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