Six weeks after they were found dead, Canadian police now say Barry Sherman and his wife, Honey, were probably murdered. They were found hanging from a rail by their indoor pool, with men's belts around their necks.
A Canadian billionaire businessman and his wife appear to have been targeted in a double-murder last month, Toronto police said Friday. Barry Sherman and his wife, Honey, were found dead in their mansion on December 15.
"We have sufficient evidence to describe this as a double homicide investigation and [to say] that both Honey and Barry Sherman were in fact targeted," Detective Sergeant Susan Gomes said at a press conference.
Gomes declined to give further details about a suspect or suspects, but said police were planning to interview a series of people.
Autopsies of the 75-year-old pharmaceuticals magnate and his 70-year-old wife indicated they died of "ligature neck compression," strangulation.
The Shermans were found semi-seated, wearing clothing and hanging with men's belts from a rail by their indoor pool, Gomes said. The last time they had been seen or heard from was two days before their bodies were found.
The Toronto Star newspaper reported that autopsies revealed marks on the Shermans' hands that may indicate they were tied at some point. No ties or ropes were found at the crime scene.
There were also no signs of forced entry into the home.
Sherman family hires private investigators
At the time the bodies were found police described the crime scene as "suspicious."
An unidentified police source quoted by local media when the bodies were found said it appeared to be a murder-suicide, something the police department never confirmed.
But the Sherman family, who hired their own team of private investigators and a retired pathologist, disagreed with the murder-suicide theory and heavily criticized the Toronto police.
Police handed over the home to the Sherman family and their private investigators on Friday after a six-week investigation at the murder scene and another property
The Toronto Star reported last week that the private investigators believed the Shermans were victims of a double-murder, possibly a contract killing.
Barry Sherman founded the generic drug manufacturer Apotex Inc in 1974. He was the 15th richest person in Canada, with an estimated fortune of €2.94 billion ($3.65 billion), according to Canadian Business magazine.
The wealthy couple gave tens of millions to Jewish organizations, hospitals and universities.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended their funeral and condolences rolled in, including from Toronto's mayor and the Israeli consulate.
cw/msh (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)