As calendars reached 2022, mystery surrounding the deaths of Canadian billionaires Barry and Honey Sherman entered its fifth year without a single suspect being identified. Although devoid of potential suspects, additional information on the case was presented by Canadian media in early 2021.
Barry Sherman, founder of Canadian pharma giant Apotex, and his wife Honey Sherman, were found dead in the basement area of their home in Toronto’s North York neighbourhood on Dec. 15, 2017. Their deaths were determined by investigators to be caused by ligature neck compressions, a type of strangulation.
According to CBC News, Apotex lost a $500 million court case involving a drug patent in the weeks leading up to their deaths. The company had laid off staff, with more cuts forthcoming. The Sherman home was for sale at the time of the murders. The couple’s real estate agent, Elise Stern, called police from the home at 11:45 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 15, 2017.
“They’re dead,” Stern frantically. Along with realtor Weidong Zhao and his clients, Stern made the discovery as they wrapped up a showing of the home. Zhao said his clients, who were from mainland China, considered it a “bad omen” to see the bodies and left the home before police arrived.
Eight days after the bodies were discovered, son Jonathon Sherman told investigators that “the couple had enemies.” The couples son told police his parents “were complicated people and that there are people out there who would have a grudge against them and would have a reason to hurt them.”
The closest that reports have come to identifying a suspect occurred in November, 2020, when a Toronto Star article indicated that Toronto Police had identified a person of interest in the killing. Police Constable Jenifferjit Sidhu confirmed a report that “a person of interest had been identified, but not arrested.” It was the first and last time any allusion to a perpetrator has been made.
Barry Sherman, age 75, had a reputation for litigiousness business practices. In “Prescription Games,” a book published in 2001, he mused that a rival might want to kill him. As it turned out, his prognosis was dead on the money.
Sherman’s funeral in December, 2017 was attended by thousands. The country’s business and political elite were out in full force, among them Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, former Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Toronto Mayor John Tory.
As it happened, Justin Trudeau had a direct connection to the billionaire couple. In 2015, Barry Sherman was a major fundraiser in Trudeau’s bid to become prime minister. Sherman and his wife hosted a fundraising event at their home, with each guest paying $1,500 dollars to attend the event two months before the election victory. At the time, Mr. Sherman was being investigated for fraud by the Canadian Federal Government Lobbying Commission.
Resources deployed to solve the murder detailed 51 officers working the case. They combed through more than 2,000 hours of security footage. A total of 474 investigative actions were “vigorously pursued,” with 240 people being interviewed, or identified to be interviewed.
They found nothing. According to Macleans, the late physician and pharmaceutical entrepreneur Morton Shulman called Sherman “the only person I have ever met with no redeeming features whatsoever.”
Seated together next to their basement swimming pool, the Shermans were discovered hanging from belts tied to a railing. The violent deaths of one of Canada’s richest couples— with a net worth estimated at $4.6 billion —rocked the intersecting worlds of big pharma, political fundraising and billionaire philanthropy.
Mr. Sherman was a man with myriad enemies. Canadian law enforcement has failed to come up with a single lead in a five-year period. Considering the circumstances and resources applied, the murder of Barry and Honey Sherman stand as Canada’s greatest unsolved mystery.