After Prince’s death on April 21, 2016, his MacBook sat quietly beside his bed at his Paisley Park home for four days, leaving what could have been important e-mails, documents and files left for others to permanently delete.
According to KSTP, documents released by investigators allege that an individual or individuals who were close to the singer would have had easy access to Prince’s computer and it is alleged that files on it were almost certainly destroyed.
As criminal law professor Joe Daly explained, a legal affidavit states that an investigator from Carver County Sheriff’s Office wishes that they had obtained a search warrant for Prince’s MacBook e-mail accounts much sooner than they did.
“I think they made a few mistakes. Even the investigator in the affidavit admits he probably made a mistake. He wishes he had taken the computer.”
It is highly likely that crucial evidence was deleted, as the New York Times reports, especially in light of the fact that investigators were able to ascertain that Prince’s Gmail account was accessed at his home on April 23, 2016 when his memorial service was taking place.
After finally making use of a search warrant to look closely at Prince’s Google accounts, a police report revealed that there was no trace of anything on it before April 19, 2016, leading police to the obvious conclusion that “the content had been deleted.”
“After obtaining a search warrant on Prince’s Google accounts, there was no information prior to 4/19/16.”
— Minneapolis NewsChan (@_Minneapolis_NC) April 20, 2018
Last week, Prince’s sister, Sharon L. Nelson, posted her dismay at the fact that the singer’s computer was left unattended for so long, asking why investigators hadn’t quickly collected it after her brother’s death.
“He died, no collecting his computer, securing building, files, records, etc?”
In official police documents, an investigator has written that they “regretted not taking the computer by the bedside of Nelson, as I believed that this contained conversations between his staff and Nelson about medications possibly.”
Prince’s family claim’s that, after the singer’s death, they knew there were certain individuals in Prince’s circle that were busy “shredding papers” and “deleting files off Prince’s computer.”
As Professor Daly maintains, “If they knew they were intentionally impeding an police investigation, that is a crime. You are obstructing justice.”
On the other hand, it is perfectly possible that Prince’s friends were deleting documents that they personally thought were not essential to the case, yet the singer’s family is still left wondering why such files would be destroyed purely because they weren’t relevant to the investigation.
The investigation surrounding Prince’s death has now been closed and no individuals have been charged in connection with the singer’s death.