Brandon Price, a detective with the Toronto police homicide squad, held a press conference Tuesday morning asking anyone who recognizes the person in the video to come forward.
In the roughly 20-second video, a person dressed in dark clothing can be seen walking down a sidewalk on a snow-covered night in the neighbourhood.
It was four years ago on Dec. 15, 2017, when the couple’s real estate agent found the Shermans dead in their mansion on Old Colony Road, near Bayview Avenue and Highway 401.
Investigators said Barry and Honey were found dead in the lower-level pool area, reportedly hanging by belts from a railing on the pool deck and wearing their clothing.
An autopsy determined the Shermans died of “ligature neck compression.”
It was also determined that the couple likely died two days before they were found, on Dec. 13, 2017, as neither of the two had communicated with friends or family from that timeframe until their bodies were discovered.
Barry Sherman was the founder and CEO of pharmaceutical firm Apotex Inc., a generic drug-maker. The couple were philanthropists and well-known members of Toronto society, sparking intense interest in their deaths and the resulting police investigation.
“The timing of this individual’s appearance is in line with when we believe the murders took place,” Price told reporters on Tuesday. “Based on this evidence we are classifying this individual as a suspect.”
Price went on to say that although there is a lack of features and details from the video, police are asking the public to pay attention to the person’s walk, stride or style of walking.
“If you recognize yourself in this video, please come forward so you can be excluded from our investigation,” Price said.
“However, it is our hope that someone will come forward with a name when they recognize the individual’s walk,” Price continued. “The way in which they kick up with their right foot with every step knowing that the person was or is connected to the Sherman family or was in the area on that day at that time.”
He said that although police cannot provide with certainty the person’s age, weight or skin colour, through photogrammetry investigators have been able to determine that the suspect in the video stands between five feet six and five feet nine inches tall.
Price said investigators have secured and gone through a large amount of video footage and through interviews, canvassing and cellphone data have either included or eliminated people that were seen in the area around the time of Barry and Honey’s deaths.
- Ibrahim Ali trial: Dead teen not ‘innocent,’ defence tells jury
- Calgary man pleads guilty to terrorism charge after posts on TikTok, Snapchat
- Police in Quebec, Ontario, N.B. make 46 arrests in anti-child porn operation
- Chinese community groups in Quebec seek $2.5M from RCMP over ‘police stations’ investigation
The short amount of footage released by police on Tuesday is not the only footage of the individual that investigators have, Price said, adding that to be the reason the individual is considered a suspect and not a person of interest.
Price would not reveal exactly how long the individual was in the area based on all the video police have but called it a “highly suspicious” amount of time.
“We have done an exhaustive video canvass of the whole area and we have based on the timing of when we understand, when we believe the murders took place, we have this individual coming into a very defined area around the Sherman’s household,” Price said. “And remaining in that area for a period. And then leaving from that area.”
“So we have been unable to identify what purpose that person had to be within that defined area,” Price said.
In answering a Global News reporter question on why police waited four years to release this video, Price said there were multiple reasons.
“As you can see, partly to do with the sort of poor quality of the image, the investigative consideration is worth that the cost to the investigation by releasing this early on would have outweighed the benefit of releasing it early on,” Price said.
“So we undertook these investigative steps, exhaustive investigative steps to identify this individual. And now having gotten to the point where we have not been able to do so with these videos, This is now the prudent time to release this to the public and seek the public’s assistance.”
Police have said there were no signs of forced entry.
A private $10-million reward, offered by the family in 2018, is still available, Price said.
As of Tuesday, the deaths of Barry and Honey Sherman remain unsolved.
“This release is in no way an indication of a conclusion to this investigation,” Price said.
— With files from The Canadian Press