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 found the couple’s fully-groomed bodies next to their indoor basement pool during a midday tour of their Toronto mansion. They were half-sitting side by side with a leash around their necks attached to the railing of the indoor swimming pool, police said.
Barry Sherman is 75; his wife, Honey, is 70. Police said they had not heard from friends or business associates for about two days, and there were no signs of forced entry into the home.
The story made headlines far beyond their affluent Toronto neighborhood. Police have described the deaths as suspicious, with theories swirling as to who might have wanted to kill the founder of Canadian generic drug giant Apotex and his charitable wife, one of Canada’s wealthiest couples.
Investigators struggled to connect the dots. But five years later, no one has been arrested. On the anniversary of the killings this week, the Shermans’ son offered an additional $25 million for information leading to the arrest. The reward is now $35 million.
“This week marks the fifth anniversary of my parents being murdered in their home. Every day since has been a nightmare. I’ve been overwhelmed by pain, loss and grief and those feelings only keep compounding.
“Closing is not going to happen until those responsible for this evil act are brought to justice,” he added. “I hope one day I will be able to make this payment because it will finally heal me.”
From the start, the case has baffled investigators and amateur detectives alike.
Days after the gruesome discovery, an autopsy revealed the couple died of “compression of the neck” or strangulation. Police said at the time that the investigation was still in its early stages and the death was not being treated as a homicide.
“The modality has not been determined and the only options presented are double suicide, murder/suicide or double homicide,” Detective Sergeant Susan Gomez said.
The victim’s prominence meant the case had been in the limelight from the start.
Barry Sherman founded Apotex in 1974 and expanded 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 worth at $3 billion.
The Sherman family’s wealth, large investments and philanthropy have brought them into contact with Canada’s business and political elite.
Thousands of people attended their funerals, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Katherine Wynn.
An emotional Jonathon Sherman, accompanied by his three sisters, took to the stage at the funeral and blasted speculation that their parents died by suicide.
“Our parents never left anyone behind. They were taken from us,” he said through tears, adding that the family was relieved to learn that the Shermans were together in the afterlife. “You are like a lock and a key, each useless alone. But together you have opened the world for yourselves, for us, and for many others,” he said.
The couple’s children hired their own team of forensic pathologists and private investigators, leading to speculation they were arguing with police.
Toronto police later said investigators never prematurely suggested the case was a murder-suicide, calling it a misunderstanding. Authorities said they had tried to reassure the public that there was no indication it was a burglary or a violent robbery.
Six weeks after the body was found, Toronto police announced a review of evidence that showed they were victims of a homicide and said they believed the couple had been targeted. Investigators noted that additional time was needed to search the Shermans’ sprawling home and related issues before reaching a delayed conclusion.
“The legal complexities of certain executions have been challenging given the litigious nature of Barry Sherman’s business, particularly the search and seizure of electronics and Barry Sherman’s workspace at Apotex,” Gomez said in January 2018.
“Two residential properties belonging to the Sherman family have been searched. Sherman’s primary residence is a large three-story family home. A six-week search, forensic review and evidence collection is warranted.”
Police said the double homicide may have had a financial motive, according to CNN affiliate CBC. A Toronto police spokesman declined to comment to CNN on the report.
Barry Sherman has sued dozens of people over the years, including on the last day he was seen alive, claiming he was scammed out of $150,000 investment. He has been known to borrow money from friends and relatives and invest it in other businesses.
Gomez declined to provide details on what evidence was found during the search of the home or whether anything was stolen. She said there were no suspects, but added that police were speaking to some people who entered the home.
The CBC reported that the Sherman mansion does not have security cameras. There was no sign of forced entry, Gomez said, and it’s possible someone had the key and had access to the lock box where the key was kept, or the couple knew each other.
She urged any witnesses to come forward. “We have a ton of photos of nearby residents,” she said.
Weeks turned into months without any new leads. Even investigators admitted the family was impatient with the lack of information.
“It was difficult for them to balance patience with frustration with us and our investigation, no different than any other family who has suffered such a sudden and profound loss,” Gomez said in 2018.
After years of silence, police made a startling announcement on the fourth anniversary of the couple’s deaths last year.
They shared a video of a figure walking down a snow-covered sidewalk in the couple’s North York neighborhood, which was captured on security video. Police are describing the person as a suspect and are asking for the public’s help in identifying them.
Police said the suspect in the video was wearing a hood and appeared to be between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 9 inches tall. Police said they did not know if the suspects were male or female, and could not determine their age, weight or skin color.
They drew attention to the suspect’s unusual gait, in which he appeared to be walking with his right heel turned up.
“Through our investigation, we have been unable to determine the purpose of this individual’s presence in the vicinity. The timing of this individual’s presence coincides with when we believe the murder occurred. Based on this evidence, we have classified this individual as a suspect,” Detective Sgt. Brandon Price said at a news conference.
Price said an “exhaustive video investigation” of the nearby area revealed other video surveillance of the suspect, and based on when police believe the murder occurred, the individual was near the Sherman home and had been in the area for some time.
They urged the person to come forward. No one does.
Five years after the killings, there have been no new major developments. A true crime podcast tries to unravel the intrigue surrounding the death.
The Sherman children said the years since the killing have been a nightmare.
Grief was compounded by a lack of answers, their daughter Alex Krawczyk said.
“To date, they have had no justice and my family and I have not been shut down,” 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 describes as an attempt to process her grief and heal after the death of her parents.
In a statement to CBC, her brother Jonathan Sherman echoed the sentiment, saying the family will never end until the killer is brought to justice. He said his parents’ deaths were not limited to the family, but affected many people they touched in their lives. The Shermans were an important part of the local Jewish community and were involved in many advocacy and philanthropic efforts.
“Nothing can replace their incredible generosity and positive social impact,” he told CBC. “My parents deserve to enjoy the fruits of their labor and spend their twilight years with their families like any grandparent. … I am forever haunted by what happened to them.
The siblings are alerting the public to the $35 million bounty and urge anyone with information to contact the Toronto Police Service. CNN has reached out to the family for comment.
Toronto Police Service spokeswoman Caroline de Kloet declined to comment on possible motives or developments in the case.
“This remains an ongoing and active investigation,” she said. “The Toronto Police Service is committed to resolving this case and bringing closure to the families and friends of Barry and Honey Sherman.”