Toronto police say the deaths of billionaire couple Barry and Honey Sherman was a double homicide and that they were targeted.
“Through the six weeks of work review we have sufficient evidence to describe this as a double-homicide investigation,” Det. Sgt. Susan Gomes told reporters at a press conference Friday afternoon.
Barry Sherman, founder of the drug company Apotex, and his wife, Honey, were found inside their home on Dec. 15, 2017. A post-mortem examination found the Shermans died of “ligature neck compression.”
Homicide investigators said they had initially treated the deaths as suspicious, but at the time never revealed the manner in which they died.
The couple was found dead in their residence on Old Colony Road near Bayview Avenue and Highway 401, just before 11:45 a.m.
Police at the time said they weren’t looking for an outstanding suspect and there was no sign of forced entry into the home. Multiple sources told Global News a realtor found the bodies inside the residence.
Police said Friday the Shermans were last seen alive in the evening hours of Dec. 13 and neither of two had communicated with friends or family from that time frame until their bodies were discovered two days later.
“Honey and Barry Sherman were found deceased in the lower level pool area hanging by belts from a pool side railing in a semi-seated position on the pool deck wearing their clothing,” Gomes said.
“The Shermans were targeted in this event.”
READ MORE: Barry and Honey Sherman’s deaths investigated by private experts as ‘contract killing’: report
Police said during the course of their investigation that they collected close to 150 bulk or packaged items, 4 terabytes of security video and spoken to at least 127 witnesses.
“We are in the process of attaining or have executed 20 judicial authorizations and searches,” Gomes said.
“Legal complexities and some executions have been challenging given the litigious nature of Barry Sherman’s businesses, in particular the certain seizure of electronics and Barry Sherman’s work space at Apotex.”
A statement released by the family on Friday said the homicide announcement was “anticipated.”
“This conclusion was expressed by the family from the outset and is consistent with the findings of the independent autopsy and investigation,” the statement read.
“The family continues to support the Toronto Police Service in their efforts to seek justice for their parents and pursue those responsible for these unspeakable crimes.”
VIDEO: Police spent ‘1000 hours’ investigating Sherman double-homicide
Some media reports said police had initially leaned toward a murder-suicide theory, which the Sherman family had strongly rejected.
Brian Greenspan, a prominent lawyer retained by the Sherman family, told Global News in late December he hired private investigators and forensic experts to “provide a second lens” on the investigation.
Police on Friday released the scene where the Shermans were found after spending nearly six week at the residence.
At around 11:20 a.m., security guards for the Sherman family were seen putting up caution tape around the home.
Former police detective Martin Woodhouse was at the location as part of the investigative team hired by the family.
READ MORE: Deaths of Apotex chairman Barry Sherman and wife Honey ‘appear suspicious’: Toronto police
A report by The Toronto Star last week said that private investigators concluded the couple died in what appears to be a “professional, contract killing.”
Police did not reveal any information about possible suspects or persons of interest in the case. However, they did say they are looking to speak to more people connected to the Sherman family.
“We have an extensive list of people that we’re looking forward to speaking to,” Gomes said.
“We hope that through today’s release, that it’ll garner a significant amount of witnesses. We have the 348 investigative actions to follow up on. We have all the seized evidence we have yet to review.”
Gomes said police have had contact with the Sherman family and have acknowledged their frustration during the investigation.
“Contact with the immediate Sherman family has been consistent and ongoing,” Gomes said.
“For them it has been difficult to balance their patience with their frustration with us and our investigation, not unlike any other family who has suffered such a sudden and profound loss. They have been understanding, cooperative and hopeful that this investigation can give them some answers.”
Canadian Business magazine had listed Barry Sherman as the 15th richest person in Canada, with a net worth of $4.77 billion.
VIDEO: Were Barry and Honey Sherman’s deaths a ‘Contract Killing?’
—With a file from Nick Westoll and Catherine McDonald
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