The family of a murdered Canadian billionaire and his wife have offered as much as C$10 million ($7.6 million) for information in their slayings last year, claiming that police bungled the investigation from the beginning according to Bloomberg.
Barry and Honey Sherman, 75 and 70, were found hanging by belts near a basement pool by a real estate agent walking through their Toronto mansion on Dec. 15. An autopsy revealed the cause of death for both to be "ligature neck compression," meaning strangulation. Police initially believed it was a "suspicious" murder-suicide. The Shermans are believed to have possessed a fortune worth nearly $5 billion thanks to Barry Sherman's Apotex, a Canadian pharmaceutical giant that specializes in producing generic copies of popular drugs. At the time of his death, Sherman and his company were embroiled in multiple lawsuits.
Later, a source with direct knowledge of the parallel probe told CBC Toronto in January that private investigators believe that the billionaire Toronto couple was murdered by multiple killers.
"Regrettably it has become clear to them that despite the active pursuit of search warrants and exploring other investigative avenues, police resources have neither been properly managed nor effectively utilized," said Sherman family attorney, Brian Greenspan.
The reports sparked outrage from the couple’s four adult children, who issued a statement saying their parents’ characters were “totally inconsistent with the rumors regrettably circulated in the media,” and urging police to do a thorough investigation.
The Sherman family hired Greenspan, a Toronto criminal defense lawyer who had previously represented the likes of Justin Bieber and Naomi Campbell, to advocate for the family. Greenspan assembled a team of retired police detectives to conduct a separate investigation and began pushing back publicly against the idea that Sherman was responsible for the deaths. -Bloomberg
The Sherman family hired a pathologist to conduct second autopsies of the deceased, which revealed "narrow markings on both victims' wrists," according to Bloomberg. The evidence suggested that the couple was tied up at some point despite no bindings found at the scene. Barry's legs were also found crossed in front of his body in a position unlikely to be found in a suicide.
The private investigators hired by the family informed the police that their conclusion of murder-suicide could not be correct. On January 26, over a month after the bodies were found, homicide detective Susan Gomes revealed to the press that the Shermans "were in fact targeted," and declared the deaths to be homicides after "six weeks of evidence and its review."
On Friday, Greenspan said the police had erred in several aspects of the investigation including not assessing and securing the crime scene properly as well as failing to notice initially that the bodies were staged. They also missed at least 25 fingerprints and palm impressions that private investigators later found, according to Greenspan. -Bloomberg
"There are circumstances where rewards have worked and we believe it may work here," said Sherman.