- Chris Helgren/Reuters
- Toronto police are now investigating billionaire pharmaceutical entrepreneur Barry Sherman and his wife’s deaths as a double homicide.
- The couple died of strangulation by hanging in their home in December. There is so far no evidence of forced entry.
- There had been speculation in the media that Sherman had murdered his wife before then killing himself, but now both the police and the couple’s family have thrown cold water on these claims.
Police in Toronto are officially investigating the deaths of billionaire pharmaceutical entrepreneur Barry Sherman and his wife Honey as a double homicide after their bodies were discovered in the basement of their home in December.
Friday’s announcement comes after six weeks of evidence gathering and confirms the suspicions initially expressed by the rest of Sherman’s family.
Detective sergeant Susan Gomes discussed the circumstances of the couple’s death for the first time, and stated the pair were discovered hanging by belts from a railing next to an indoor pool in the basement of the couple’s $5.4 million mansion.
Police had previously confirmed that the cause of death had been “ligature neck compression” – strangulation from tying or binding. Their bodies were first found by a real estate agent who had been preparing the mansion, which the Shermans had recently put up for sale, for an open house.
But as was originally reported, there is still no evidence of anyone forcibly entering the home.
Competing narratives and speculation
In the weeks since the Shermans’ deaths, there had been reports in the media that cited “a Toronto police source” that claimed the deaths were the result of a murder-suicide committed by Barry Sherman, but there has been no official evidence put forward by police that would confirm this.
The family also put out a statement deriding the accusations.
“Our parents shared an enthusiasm for life and commitment to their family and community totally inconsistent with the rumors regrettably circulated in the media as to the circumstances surrounding their deaths,” the statement read. “We are shocked and think it’s irresponsible that police sources have reportedly advised the media of a theory which neither their family, their friends nor their colleagues believe to be true.”
As a result of their lack of confidence in the police, the family hired private investigators in December who promised to “ensure that no stone is left unturned.”
Sherman, 75, founded Apotex in 1974, and it is now one of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies. The couple were known for their philanthropy, giving tens of millions of dollars to hospitals, universities, and Jewish organizations.
The family’s political activities before the homicides have come under increased scrutiny since their deaths.
Just before his death, Sherman was attempting to sideline an investigation into whether a political fundraiser he held for Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau in 2015 violated lobbying rules, according to the Toronto Star.
But since the homicides occurred, there has been no evidence linking this activity to Sherman and his wife’s death.