TORONTO - Authorities in Toronto released footage of a potential suspect in the deaths of Barry and Honey Sherman, a billionaire couple who were found murdered in their home in 2017.
The CCTV footage, captured on Dec. 15, 2017, shows a person walking through the snowy neighborhood at a time when investigators believe the murders took place. Det. Sgt. Brandon Price of the Toronto Police Service said this week that the suspect spends "a very suspicious amount of time" in the immediate area of the Sherman home and their purpose in the area remains "unexplained."
"Based on the evidence, we are classifying this individual as a suspect," Price said in a statement.
The man or woman, pictured wearing a head covering, was estimated to be between 5-6 to 5 foot-9 tall, police said. The public was also asked to pay particular attention to the person’s "gait" or manner of walking.
"It is our hope that someone will come forward with a name when they recognize the individual’s walk, the way in which they kick up their right foot with every step, knowing that the person was or is connected to the Sherman family or the area on that day at that time," Price said.
Investigators said they conducted an "exhaustive video canvass" of the Sherman’s neighborhood over the past few years, and this particular video showed the best footage.
"This individual walks into that area, doesn’t continue to walk through, but remains in that area that is not covered by video footage and then remains in there before coming back out sometime later," he continued. "That is how we have been able to narrow this individual’s location down."
A screengrab from a video released by Toronto Police shows the individual walking through the snowy neighborhood on Dec. 15, 2017. Credit: Toronto Police Service via Storyful
Price said there may be "a legitimate explanation as to what the person’s actions were in the area," and if so, asked them to come forward so they can be excluded from the investigation.
Barry Sherman, who founded generic drugmaker Apotex Inc., and his wife, Honey, were found dead in their Toronto mansion on Dec. 15, 2017. The two were hanging by belts from a railing that surrounds their indoor pool and were in a semi-seated position on the pool deck.
Sherman, 75, was known for litigiousness and aggressive business practices as he developed Apotex, which had a global workforce of about 11,000. In "Prescription Games," a 2001 book about the industry, he mused that a rival might want to kill him.
Price said they have largely eliminated everyone else picked up on security footage in the area. He said they have a great deal of confidence the suspect is linked to the scene.
"This individual's actions are highly suspicious," Price said.
The couple was among Canada’s most generous philanthropists, and their deaths shocked Canadian high society and the country’s Jewish community. They 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.
The day after the bodies were found, some prominent news media outlets quoted unidentified police officials as saying the deaths appeared to be a murder-suicide. That upset the couple’s four adult children, who then hired their own team of investigators and a pathologist, who conducted second autopsies on the Shermans.
Police later said publicly they believed the Shermans were murdered.
Friends and family say the couple had been making plans for the future. They had recently listed their home in Toronto for 6.9 million Canadian dollars ($5.3 million) and they were building a new home in the city.
Sherman faced legal action from cousins who said they had been cut out of the company over the years. A judge dismissed the claim just months before the couple was found dead.
This story was reported from Cincinnati. The Associated Press contributed.