The deaths of Canadian billionaires Barry and Honey Sherman have been shrouded in mystery from the start.
On Dec. 15, 2017, a real estate agent visiting the couple’s Toronto mansion around noon discovered their bodies, fully clothed, next to their indoor basement pool. They were semi-seated side by side, with belts tied around their necks and tied to the indoor pool railing, police said.
Barry Sherman was 75; his wife Honey was 70 years old. None of their friends or associates had heard from them for about two days, and there was no sign of forced entry into the home, police said.
The story made headlines far beyond their affluent Toronto community. Police have called the deaths suspicious and theories have been circulating about who might have wanted to kill the founder of Canadian generic drugs giant Apotex and his philanthropist wife – one of Canada’s wealthiest couples.
Investigators worked to connect the dots. But five years later, no arrests have been made. On the anniversary of the murders this week, the Shermans’ son offered an additional $25 million for information leading to an arrest. The reward is now $35 million.
“This week marks the fifth anniversary of the murder of my parents in their home. Every day since then has been a nightmare. I have been overwhelmed with pain, loss and grief and these feelings only get worse and worse all the time. Jonathon Sherman said in a statement to CBC News from Canada announcing the award money.
“The closure will not be possible until those responsible for this evil act are brought to justice,” he added. “Hopefully the day I make this payment because it will finally allow healing.”
From the start, the case baffled investigators and amateur sleuths.
Days after the grim discovery, an autopsy revealed the couple had died from “ligature neck compression” or strangulation. The investigation was still in its early stages and the deaths were not being treated as homicides, police said at the time.
“The manner was undetermined, with the only options presented being double suicide, murder/suicide or double homicide,” Detective Sergeant Susan Gomes said.
The notoriety of the victims meant that the case was highly publicized from the start.
Barry Sherman founded Apotex in 1974 and grew it into a global pharmaceutical company that has donated more than $50 million to charity, according to its website. At the time of his death, Forbes estimated he was worth $3 billion.
The Shermans’ wealth, vast investments and philanthropic work led them to cross paths with Canada’s business and political elites.
Their funeral was attended by thousands of people, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Kathleen Wynne, Premier of the Province of Ontario.
At the service, an emotional Jonathon Sherman took the stage, flanked by his three sisters, and slammed speculation that their parents died by suicide.
“Our parents never left anyone behind. They were taken from us,” he tearfully said, adding that the family is comforted to know that the Shermans are together in the afterlife. “You was like a lock and a key, each quite useless on your own. But together you opened up the world for you, for us and for so many others,” he said.
The couple’s children hired their own team of forensic pathologists and private investigators, leading to speculation that they had a fight with the police.
Toronto police later said investigators never prematurely indicated it was a murder-suicide, saying it was a misunderstanding. Authorities said they had sought to reassure the public that there were no signs that it was a break and enter or a robbery.
Six weeks after the bodies were discovered, Toronto police announced a review of evidence showing they had been victims of homicide, saying they believe the couple were targeted. Investigators cited the extra time it took to search the Shermans’ sprawling home and related issues for the delayed conclusion.
“The legal complexity of some of the executions was difficult, given the contentious nature of Barry Sherman’s business, particularly the search and seizure of electronics and Barry Sherman’s workspace at Apotex,” Gomes said. in January 2018.
“Two residential properties belonging to the Shermans were searched. The Sherman Primary Residence is a large three story family home. Six weeks of search, forensic examination and seizure of evidence is warranted.
Police said there were possible financial motives in the double homicide, according to CNN affiliate CBC. A Toronto police spokesperson declined to comment to CNN on this report.
Over the years, Barry Sherman had sued dozens of people, including a lawsuit filed the last day he was seen alive against someone he believed had defrauded him out of a $150,000 investment, a reported the CBC. He was known to lend money to friends and relatives and invest in other businesses.
Gomes declined to provide details of any evidence found during the house search or whether anything was stolen. She said there were no suspects, but added that police were speaking to a number of people who had access to the house.
The CBC reported that the Sherman mansion had no security cameras. With no signs of forced entry, it’s possible someone either had a key, had access to the safe that held the keys, or was known to the couple, Gomes said.
She urged all witnesses to come forward. “We have a significant number of images of people in the neighborhood,” she said.
Weeks turned into months with no new leads. Even investigators admitted that the family was growing impatient with the lack of information.
“For them, it has been difficult to balance their patience with their frustration with us and our investigation, like no other family that has suffered such a sudden and profound loss,” Gomes said in 2018.
After years of silence, police have made a stunning announcement on the fourth anniversary of the couple’s death last year.
They shared video of a person in the shadows taken on security video walking on snowy sidewalks in the couple’s North York neighborhood. Police described the person as a suspect and asked for the public’s help in identifying him.
Police said the suspect was wearing headgear in the video and appeared to be between 5ft 6in and 5ft 9in tall. Police said they did not know if the suspect was male or female and could not determine his age, weight or skin color.
They drew attention to the suspect’s unusual gait, which appeared to lift his right heel as he walked.
“Through our investigation, we have not been able to determine what this individual’s purpose in the neighborhood was. The timing of this individual’s appearance aligns with when we believe the murders took place. On based on this evidence, we classify this individual as a suspect,” Detective Sgt. Brandon Price said at a press conference.
An “extensive video investigation” of the neighborhood revealed further video surveillance of the suspect, and according to when police believe the murders took place, the person was around the Sherman home and remained in that area for some time. time, Price said.
They urged the person to come forward. Nobody did.
Five years after the killings, there have been no major new developments. True crime podcasts attempted to unravel the intrigue surrounding the deaths.
The Shermans’ children say the years since the murders have been a nightmare.
The grief is compounded by the lack of answers, said Alex Krawczyk, their daughter.
“So far there has been no justice for them and no closure for me and my family,” she said in a statement this week. “My heart is broken. My loss is immeasurable. My children lost their grandparents. We miss their guidance, love and wisdom.
A folk singer, Krawczyk released an album of music this year which she described as an attempt to process her grief and heal over the death of her parents.
In a statement to CBC, her brother, Jonathon Sherman, echoed the same sentiment, saying the family will never be closed until the killer is brought to justice. The loss of his parents goes beyond the family and extends to the many people whose lives they touched, he said. The Shermans made up a large part of the local Jewish community and were involved in much advocacy and philanthropy.
“Nothing will replace their incredible generosity and positive social impact,” he told CBC. “My parents deserved to enjoy the fruits of their labor and spend their twilight years as any grandparent should, with their family. … I am forever haunted by what happened to them.
The siblings reminded the public of the $35 million reward and pleaded with anyone with information to contact the Toronto Police Department. CNN has reached out to the family for comment.
Caroline de Kloet, spokeswoman for the Toronto Police Service, declined to comment on a motive or possible developments in the case.
“This remains an ongoing and active investigation,” she said. “The Toronto Police Service is committed to solving this case and terminating the family and friends of Barry and Honey Sherman.”