Local Current Blog

Authorities release some details regarding Prince’s death, but autopsy results may take ‘weeks’

Law enforcement outside Paisley Park in Chanhassen, Minn. April 21, 2016 (Nate Ryan/MPR)

At a Friday afternoon press conference, Carver County officials said that it will likely take weeks for the results of Prince’s autopsy to be revealed. The autopsy was conducted Friday morning at the Midwest Medical Examiner’s office in Anoka County, and Prince’s body has now been released to his family, the office confirmed. Prince died at Paisley Park, the home and studio he maintained in Chanhassen, Minn., located in Carver County.

Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson said that an investigation of the circumstances of Prince’s death is ongoing. Paisley Park has been “processed” as the scene of the death, and Olson declined to comment further on the nature of the investigation. In collaboration with the medical examiner, the sheriff’s office will be examining details of Prince’s medical history as well as other relevant details regarding his life.

Authorities did share some previously unknown facts regarding the specific circumstances of Prince’s death. Olson said Prince was last seen alive Wednesday night at approximately 8 p.m., when an acquaintance dropped him off at Paisley Park. When Paisley Park staff were unable to reach Prince on Thursday morning, they contacted authorities at 9:43 a.m.; Prince, alone at the facility, was found collapsed in an elevator. Olson declined to comment on how long Prince is believed to have been dead at the time he was discovered.

Olson said that at this time there is no reason to believe Prince’s death was a suicide, and he declined to comment regarding a specific question as to the possibility of foul play. There were no “obvious signs” of trauma on Prince’s body, and he was dressed in a shirt and pants. When asked whether Prince was dressed for bed at the time of his death, Olson admitted that “I can’t say at this point what he sleeps in versus what he may go out in.”

Prince’s family have been “very cooperative,” said Olson. Chanhassen Mayor Denny Laufenberger said that Prince, who has had two residences in the city in addition to Paisley Park, “lived in Chanhassen for a long time” and “had been a good neighbor for everybody.”

Olson said that he expects crowds will be allowed to continue gathering on the Paisley Park property, with the adjoining street shut down, at least until Monday morning, at which point the situation will be reevaluated. At this time, fans and media continue to crowd the property, which has served as a site of public mourning.

Reporters repeatedly asked Olson and a representative of the Medical Examiner’s office what they could say about any medication Prince was taking, and that might have been found at Paisley Park. Olson declined to say, emphasizing that the investigation remained ongoing; he agreed that gathering information from a Walgreens that Prince was said to frequent would normally be part of such an investigation.

Further, Olson said that Carver County authorities are cooperating with other jurisdictions to investigate such things as the reported medical treatment Prince received last week when his plane made an unscheduled landing in Illinois.

“We are going to continue to respect his privacy and his dignity,” said Olson, “and we hope that you do as well.”

Watch the Q&A portion of the press conference via The Current on Facebook.

Starting at 6 p.m. tonight (Friday), The Current will celebrate Prince’s musical legacy by playing his songs in alphabetical order.

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