The deaths of Canadian billionaires Barry and Honey Sherman have been shrouded in mystery from the start.
On December 15, 2017, a realtor who arranged a tour of the couple’s Toronto mansion around noon found their bodies, fully clothed, next to the basement’s indoor pool. They were half-seated side by side, with belts tied around their necks and attached to the railing of the indoor pool, police said.
Barry Sherman was 75; his wife, Honey, was 70. None of their friends or business associates had heard from them in about two days, and there were no signs of forced entry into the home, police said.
The story made headlines far beyond their affluent Toronto community. Police called the death suspicious and theories swirled about who might have wanted to kill the founder of Canadian generic drug giant Apotex and his philanthropist wife, one of Canada’s wealthiest couples.
Investigators have been working to connect the dots. But five years later, there have been no arrests. On the anniversary of the murders this week, the Sherman family’s son is offering an additional $25 million for information leading to an arrest. The prize is now $35 million.
“This week marks five years since my parents were murdered in their home. Every day since then has been a nightmare. I was overwhelmed with pain, loss and grief, and those feelings continue to deepen,” Jonathan Sherman said in a statement to Canada’s CBC News announcing the prize money.
“Closure will not be possible until those responsible for this evil act are brought to justice,” he added. “I look forward to the day I make that payment as it will finally allow for healing.”
From the beginning, the case confounded both investigators and amateur detectives.
Days after the grim discovery, an autopsy revealed the couple died of “ligature neck compression,” or strangulation. The investigation is still early and the deaths are 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 murder,” Detective Sergeant Susan Gomez said.
The notoriety of the victims meant that the case was known 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 his fortune at $3 billion.
The Sherman family’s wealth, vast investments and philanthropic activities intersected with the Canadian business and political elite.
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 Jonathan Sherman took to the stage flanked by his three sisters and dismissed speculation that their parents had committed suicide.
“Our parents never abandoned anyone. They were taken from us,” he said through tears, adding that the family takes comfort in knowing the Shermans are together in the afterlife. “You were like a lock and key, each quite worthless on its own. But together you have unlocked the world for yourselves, 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 were at loggerheads with the police.
Toronto police later said investigators never prematurely identified the case as a murder-suicide, saying it was a misunderstanding. Authorities said they tried to reassure the public that there were no signs this was a break-in or robbery with violence.
Six weeks after the bodies were found, Toronto police announced a review of evidence showing they were homicide victims, saying they believe the pair were targeted. Investigators cited the additional time needed to search the Sherman family’s sprawling home and related issues for the delayed conclusion.
“The legal complications of some of the executions were challenging given the litigious nature of Barry Sherman’s business, specifically the search and seizure of Barry Sherman’s electronics and workspace at Apotex,” Gomez said in January 2018.
“Two residential properties belonging to the Sherman family were searched. Sherman’s primary residence is a large three-story family home. Six weeks of searching, forensic examination and seizure of evidence are justified.
Police indicated there was a possible financial motive in the double murder, according to CNN affiliate CBC. A Toronto police spokesman declined to comment to CNN on this report.
Barry Sherman has sued dozens of people over the years, including a lawsuit filed on the last day he was seen alive against a man he claims defrauded him out of a $150,000 investment, the CBC reported. He is known to lend money to friends and relatives and invest in other businesses.
Gomez declined to provide details on what evidence was found in the search of the home 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 home.
The CBC reported that there are no security cameras at the Sherman mansion. With no signs of forced entry, it’s possible someone had a key, had access to the box that contained the keys or was known to the couple, Gomez said.
She called for 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 admit the family is getting impatient with the lack of information.
“It was difficult for them to balance their patience with their frustration with us and our investigation, unlike any other family that has suffered such a sudden and profound loss,” Gomez said in 2018.
After years of silence, police made the stunning announcement on the fourth anniversary of the couple’s deaths last year.
They shared a video of a shadowy figure caught on security video walking along snowy sidewalks in the couple’s North York neighborhood. Police identified the person as a suspect and asked for the public’s help in identifying him.
Police said the suspect was wearing a head covering in the video and appeared to be between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-9. Police said they did not know if the suspect was male or female and could not determine their age, weight or skin color.
They noted the unusual gait of the suspect, who appeared to be kicking his right heel as he walked.
“Through our investigation, we have not been able to determine what this individual’s purpose was in the neighborhood. The timing of this individual’s appearance is consistent with when we believe the murders took place. Based on this evidence, we are classifying this individual as a suspect,” Detective Sgt. That’s what Brandon Price said at a news briefing.
A “comprehensive video survey” of the neighborhood turned up other video surveillance of the suspect, and based on when police believe the murders took place, the person was around Sherman’s house and remained in that area for a period of time, Price said.
They urged the person to come out. No one did.
Five years after the murders, there are no new important developments. True crime podcasts tried to unravel the intrigue surrounding the death.
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.
“Until now, 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 have lost their grandparents. We miss their guidance, love and wisdom.”
A folk singer, Krawczyk released an album of music this year that she described as an attempt to process her grief and heal after the death of her parents.
In a statement to the CBC, her brother Jonathan Sherman echoed the sentiment, saying the family will never be identified 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 were a large part of the local Jewish community and were involved in numerous advocacy and charitable activities.
“Nothing will replace their incredible generosity and positive social impact,” he told the CBC. “My parents deserved to enjoy the fruits of their labor and spend their sunset, 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 cash reward and urged anyone with information to contact the Toronto Police Service. CNN has reached out to the family for comment.
Carolyn de Cloet, a Toronto police spokeswoman, declined to comment on a possible motive or developments in the case.
“This remains an ongoing and active investigation,” she said. “The Toronto Police Service is committed to solving this case and bringing closure to the family and friends of Barry and Honey Sherman.”