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Billionaires’ death in Toronto; homicide detectives to investigate the issue

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Published: 10:25 GMT, Dec 18, 2017 |
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Honey and Barry Sherman, Chairman and CEO of Apotex Inc., are shown at the annual United Jewish Appeal (UJA) fundraiser in Toronto

Toronto homicide detectives have taken over the investigation of the deaths of billionaire Barry Sherman and his wife, Honey, as authorities identified the couple as the two people found dead in a north Toronto mansion on Friday.

Police called the deaths of the pharmaceutical magnate and his wife suspicious, but on Friday also said there were no signs of forced entry and that they were not looking for any suspect. Homicide Detective Brandon Price told reporters on Saturday that police “cannot say 100% with certainty” whether or not foul play was involved.

Autopsy results released on Sunday showed they died from “ligature neck compression”.

The Sherman family issued a statement on Saturday urging police to conduct a “thorough, intensive and objective criminal investigation” into the deaths and calling on the media to avoid speculating on the cause of the deaths.

The Shermans recently put up their house for sale for C$6.9m (US$5.4m).

Sherman founded Toronto-based Apotex Inc. in 1974 with two employees and turned the generic drugmaker into a company that now has 11,000 employees worldwide. The company released a statement on Saturday paying tribute to its founder, praising both his philanthropic efforts and what it described as his vision for healthcare.

The Shermans were among Canada’s most generous philanthropists, and their deaths shocked Canadian high society. The couple made numerous multimillion-dollar donations to hospitals, schools and charities and had buildings named in their honor. They hosted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a Liberal party fundraiser in 2015.

Honey Sherman was on the boards of several civic groups, including Mount Sinai’s Women’s Auxiliary, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the International American Joint Distribution Committee.

Barry Sherman was not without controversy. He faced legal action from family members alleging they had been cut out of the company over the years.

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