Police release video footage of suspect in murder of Barry and Honey Sherman
Published Tuesday, December 14, 2021 5:31AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, December 14, 2021 11:35AM EST
Toronto police have now released video footage of a suspect who was seen on camera near the property of Barry and Honey Sherman for a “suspicious amount of time" at the same time police believe the couple was murdered in December 2017.
Police released the footage Tuesday four years after the 75-year-old founder of Canadian pharmaceutical company Apotex and his 70-year-old wife, who were among the country’s most well-known philanthropists, were murdered at their home on Old Colony Road.
Their bodies were discovered on the morning of Friday, Dec. 15, 2017 by a realtor who was showing the home to prospective buyers but police believe the couple was killed two days earlier, on the night of Dec. 13.
Speaking at a news conference at Toronto police headquarters on Tuesday morning, Det.- Sgt. Brandon Price, the lead investigator in the case, told reporters that after sifting through terabytes of video footage from around the Sherman property at the time of the homicides, police have been able to identify everyone seen on camera with the exception of one individual.
"This individual's actions are highly suspicious," Price told reporters Tuesday, adding that the suspect stayed in a "defined area" that was "tight to the Sherman property" for some time.
"This footage is not the only footage of this individual that we have. We have done an exhaustive video canvass of the whole area and we have... this individual coming into a very defined area around the Sherman's household and remaining in that area for a period, and then leaving from that area," Price said.
Price did not rule out the possibility that this person could have a legitimate reason for being outside the Sherman home at the time of the murders but said they were around the property for a "very suspicious amount of time."
He would not confirm whether the suspect was seen on video actually walking on to the Sherman property.
Police have previously confirmed to the public that they have identified "persons of interest" in the case but this is the first time investigators have labelled someone a “suspect.”
"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. Based on this evidence we are classifying this individual as a suspect," Price said.
"Though there is a lack of detail in features of this individual, we believe that further information from the public could assist us in making an identification. I would ask that you pay particular attention to the gait or the stride or the walk style that the person has on the video."
When asked why all of the video footage of the suspect has not been released to the public, Price said this video contains the best images that they have of the individual.
He said police cannot confirm the age, gender, weight or skin colour of the suspect but noted that they are between five-foot-six and five-foot-nine inches tall.
"If you recognize yourself in this video, please come forward so you can be excluded from our investigation," he said.
"However, 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."
Barry and Honey were found dead by police fully clothed in the basement of their home near the pool in a “semi-seated” position, facing the wall. Their arms were behind them but not bound and there were two black belts looped round their necks with the other end attached to a railing.
An autopsy later revealed that the cause of death for both Barry and Honey was ligature neck compression.
Three possible outcomes were initially considered by investigators, including a double suicide, a double homicide, and a murder-suicide in which Barry killed his wife and then ended his own life. But six weeks after the bodies were discovered, police said they believed the Shermans were the victims of a targeted, double homicide. Investigators came to this conclusion after a second autopsy ordered by the family revealed that both Barry and Honey were murdered.
Video a 'valuable piece of evidence'
To date, the police service says that investigators have undertaken 992 investigative actions in the case and conducted 250 witness interviews. They have received 41 judicial authorizations connected to the investigation and 1,255 tips from the public.
The Sherman family has offered a $10 million reward for any information that leads to the arrest of a suspect in the case.
While Price says the video clip is a "valuable piece of evidence," he said investigators are continuing to pursue other leads.
"To be clear, this release is in no way an indication of a conclusion to this investigation. From the beginning, this has been a multi-faceted investigation and we will continue to work on various other avenues of investigation that we have undertaken and keep an open mind to new ones," he said.
When asked why it took four years to release this video, Price said the police service is constantly trying to balance public interest with the integrity of the investigation.
"The investigative considerations were that the cost to the investigation by releasing this early on would have outweighed the benefit of releasing it early on," he said.
"So we undertook these investigative steps, exhaustive investigative steps, to identify this individual, and now having gotten to the point where we have not been able to do so with these videos, this is now the prudent time to release this to the public and seek the public's assistance."
Price confirmed that investigators are not ruling out the possibility that there is more than one suspect involved in the murders.
"The fact is that nobody can be 100 per cent excluded because there is always the possibility, and we will keep an open mind, that there is more than the one individual who executes the action that may be culpable," he said.