Carver County Attorney Mark Metz announced in a press conference on Thursday, April 19, that no criminal charges will be filed in Prince’s death.
Metz explained that the “Purple Rain” singer, who died in April 2016 at age 57, unknowingly took counterfeit Vicodin laced with fentanyl.
“Despite the intensive law enforcement investigation, there is no reliable evidence showing how Prince obtained the counterfeit Vicodin laced with fentanyl or who else may have had a role in delivering the counterfeit Vicodin to Prince,” he explained, noting that officials completed forensic analysis on all of the digital evidence they had in the case. “Despite their extensive efforts, law enforcement was unable to determine the source of the counterfeit Vicodin laced with fentanyl.”
Metz added that authorities do not have enough evidence to argue that Prince, nor anybody close to him, knew he knowingly ingested fentanyl. Nonetheless, Metz noted, “There is no doubt that the actions of people around Prince will be criticized, questioned and judged in the days and weeks to come but suspicions and innuendo are categorically insufficient to support any criminal charges.”
Last month, the Associated Press reported that the late star had a high level of fentanyl in his body at the time of his death, according to a previously confidential toxicology report. The document also revealed that the concentration of the synthetic opioid in Prince’s blood was 67.8 micrograms per liter, and fatalities have been recorded in people with blood levels ranging from three to 58 micrograms per liter.
“The amount of blood is exceedingly high, even for somebody who is a chronic pain patient on fentanyl patches,” Rutgers New Jersey Medical School’s emergency medicine chairman told the news agency at the time, noting that the level of fentanyl found in the pop icon’s body was “a pretty clear smoking gun.”
American College of Medical Toxicology’s president Dr. Charles McKay told AP that the report suggested Prince orally ingested the substance.
As previously reporter, the Grammy winner was found dead in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate in Chanhassen, Minnesota, on April 21, 2016. The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office reported in June of that year that he likely died from an accidental fentanyl overdose. One year later, the Minnesota Judicial Branch announced that multiple bottles containing opioid painkillers were hidden throughout Prince’s estate at the time of his death and authorities discovered Ziploc bags carrying the drugs.
Prince was set to meet with an addiction expert one day after his sudden death to discuss the chronic pain he suffered following a hip injury.