Toronto police are seeking the public’s help in identifying a suspect caught on video near the home of billionaire philanthropists Barry and Honey Sherman on the night police believe they were killed.
The force released a short video clip on Tuesday showing a person walking on a sidewalk near the Shermans’ Toronto home on Dec. 13, 2017.
Barry Sherman, 75, the founder and chairman of the board of generic drug giant Apotex, and his 70-year-old wife, Honey, were found dead in the basement pool area of their home on Old Colony Rd. in Toronto’s North York neighbourhood two days later, on Dec. 15, 2017.
Of all the people seen on video footage seized from nearby security cameras that night, this person is the only one detectives have been unable to identify and exclude from the investigation, Det. Sgt. Brandon Price said at a news conference at Toronto police headquarters on Tuesday.
“We have been able to eliminate the vast majority of people captured on the video,” said Price. “We are left with one individual, whom we have been unable to identify.”
Price said police are suspicious of the person’s activities because they walk into a “defined area” not captured by video surveillance, stay there for a while, and then leave.
“Through our investigation, we have been unable to determine what this individual’s purpose was in the neighbourhood. The timing of this individual’s appearance is in line with when we believe the murders took place,” said Price. “Based on this evidence, we are classifying this individual as a suspect.”
Price said video analysis shows the individual is 5’6″ to 5’9″ tall, but the person’s sex, race and other identifiers cannot be determined.
The video shows the person walking with an unusual gait, where they kick up their right foot with every step.
Price encouraged anyone who may recognize the person — or the person themself — to come forward, and said he hasn’t ruled out that this person had a legitimate reason to be in the area at the time.
Investigation almost 4 years old
Almost four years into the investigation into the Shermans’ deaths, this is the first time detectives have said they have a suspect. The couple were philanthropists and well-known members of Toronto society, which sparked intense interest in their deaths and the resulting police investigation.
When they were found, their bodies sat side by side, legs outstretched, with belts looped around their necks that were attached to a pool railing.
Autopsy results revealed the couple died by “ligature neck compression,” a type of strangulation, and police have said there were no signs of forced entry to their home.
Price said on Tuesday that police have conducted approximately 250 witness interviews, received over 1,000 tips from the public, and taken 992 “investigative actions” as part of their investigation.
“We have remained steadfast in our commitment to bring closure to the Sherman family, their friends, loved ones and the community,” said Price.
Late last year, investigators said a person of interest had been identified in the case, but so far, no arrests have been announced.
The family offered a reward of up to $10 million for information that would help solve the case that made international headlines. It also hired its own team of private investigators to look into the homicides.