I’ve been watching this story for several weeks but yesterday the investigation into the death of a Canadian billionaire and his wife took a significant turn. The couple’s bodies were discovered December 15th by a realtor setting up an open house but since then there has been no official comment on their cause of death. At a press conference Friday, Canadian authorities announced that Barry Sherman and his wife Honey were murdered, ruling out suicide or murder-suicide as possible causes of death. From the Associated Press:
Det. Sgt. Susan Gomes said investigators came to the conclusion after six weeks of investigation, but declined to discuss possible motives or suspects…
The day after the bodies were found, prominent media outlets quoted unidentified police officials as saying it appeared to be a murder-suicide. But that theory was never publicly confirmed by authorities and family said that would have been wildly out of character.
Gomes said the two were found hanging by belts from a railing that surrounds their indoor pool. She said they were in a semi-seated position on the pool deck.
“We have sufficient evidence to describe this as a double homicide investigation and that both Honey and Barry Sherman were in fact targeted,” Gomes said.
A report last month suggested the couple, estimated to be worth $3.5 billion in U.S. currency, may have been having money troubles. From Radar Online:
The couple – who were reportedly worth $4 billion – had stalled on building a new home while they only donated $66,000 to charitable causes in 2016.
The Sherman Family Foundation ended last year with just under $1 million in its accounts records show.
Barry, 75 the founder of Canadian pharmaceutical giant Apotex, had retired from the day-to-day running of the company five years ago, according to a company spokesman.
However, he was still bogged down in several lawsuits including one with a relative demanding a chunk of his company.
But now that police are no longer focused on murder-suicide, they are looking into who might have wanted the couple killed and why. The AP points out that back in 2001 Brad Sherman wrote that he was surprised rival drug companies hadn’t tried to have him murdered:
He conceded he made enemies in “Prescription Games,” a 2001 book about the industry.
“The branded drug companies hate us. They have hired private investigators on us all the time,” he said. “The thought once came to my mind, why didn’t they just hire someone to knock me off? For a thousand bucks paid to the right person you can probably get someone killed. Perhaps I’m surprised that hasn’t happened.”
So there are nebulous suspects out there, i.e. rival companies, people involved in lawsuits against the company, but nothing concrete at this point. The Toronto police have been criticized for quickly suggesting this was a murder-suicide and thereby putting the investigation into suspects on the back burner. Obviously, whoever targeted the couple has now had weeks to make a run for it. So how did the police (and the media) get this so wrong, so quickly? In this report, The National answers that by giving an hour-by-hour breakdown of early police statements. Police never said on the record that this wasn’t a murder investigation, but they definitely gave that impression within 24-hours of the discovery of the bodies.