Initially, Elise Stern, a real estate agent, believed it was a macabre practical joke.
CAUTION: Readers may find certain aspects of this narrative disturbing.
Was she attempting to sell this Toronto mansion while setting up two mannequins as props in a fake “murder” scene by the pool?
The prospective buyers, who were being asked to pay $7 million for the sprawling luxury home, seemed annoyed by the stunt too.
“It was extremely strange,” authorities later wrote of the witnesses’ finding.
“They were distant and their heads were raised and hanging on the barrier leading into the swimming pool.”
But as they stepped closer, a sickening realization crept in.Output: However, as they moved nearer, a nauseating understanding began to arise.
They weren’t statues at all, but Barry and Honey Sherman, the wealthy owners of the estate.
Positioned behind them, the barrier was secured to the straps encircling their throats, as the couple, seated next to each other, had been abandoned in a horrifying stance.
“They’re deceased!” Ms Stern cried to the emergency dispatcher.
The Shermans were renowned philanthropists who socialized with Toronto’s upper-class circles and operated one of the largest pharmaceutical corporations in the country.
However, five years after their bodies were found, the unsolved murder of one of Canada’s wealthiest couples persists.
The Toronto police are not any closer to making an arrest, despite the fact that a number of pathologists, lawyers, and detectives were privately hired by the Sherman family to investigate the case.
Jonathan, the son of the couple, is now offering a reward of $35 million in hopes of finding the person responsible for his parents’ murder, as he desperately seeks answers.
“Closure will not be attainable until those accountable for this malevolent deed are brought to justice,” he stated in the previous month.
However, identifying the killer from a large number of possible suspects may prove to be challenging.
The enigma has caused siblings to oppose one another, and puzzled amateur detectives.
Even Jonathan himself has been accused of being implicated in the killings of his parents, an allegation he has strongly refuted.
No individual achieves billionaire status without acquiring a few adversaries throughout their journey.
Barry Sherman, renowned for his rapid ascent in the pharmaceutical sector, once acknowledged that numerous individuals harbored negative intentions towards him.
In 2001, he said that someone hired him to knock me off. They didn’t mind why he came to me once, I thought. The investigators have been trying to investigate us all the time. They hate us all the time.
At his memorial service, he was remembered as a fiercely devoted friend, father, and CEO who enjoyed a good challenge.
In 1974, he took the proceeds from the sale of his late uncle’s pharmaceutical company, setting up a ruthless version of the business.
Through Apotex, he undermined rivals by producing generic editions of their medications, establishing himself as an extremely wealthy and highly contentious individual.
He took advantage of Canada’s pharmaceutical manufacturing laws and sold a cheap version of a new drug years before its patent expired, outraging the court in their battle against the giant pharmaceutical company.
“If we’re burglars, we’re Robin Hoods,” he enjoyed saying when accused of appropriating other individuals’ concepts.
However, not everyone was convinced that Sherman stole from the pharmaceutical industry to distribute to the less fortunate.
“He was a reprehensible individual,” University of Ottawa law professor Amir Attaran remarked days following Sherman’s passing.
“Canadians spend a higher amount on non-brand name medications compared to nearly all other nations.
“He attempted to manipulate our system to benefit himself and harm Canadian patients who relied on his medications.”
However, Sherman did not only engage in conflict with his competitors in the business world.
In the months preceding his demise, he was engaged in a legal dispute with his own relatives.
Founded through the sale of their deceased father’s company, Sherman was indebted to his four relatives who asserted their ownership in Apotex.
“Claiming that this was not an act of kindness, but rather a scheme, they made the cousins reliant on him and prevented them from discovering their entitlement to the business. Throughout their lives, Sherman had provided them with financial assistance.”
Sherman emerged victorious in the lawsuit, and immediately retrieved millions of dollars that he had previously given to his relatives.
“I did everything possible to assist them,” Sherman stated in 2017, mere months prior to his passing.
The adored humanitarian
Despite his almost continuous family conflicts and legal battles, Barry Sherman remained firmly established in the upper class of Toronto.
Those who were acquainted with him claim that this can mostly be attributed to his spouse.
The daughter of Holocaust survivors who was born in a refugee camp in Poland, Honey Sherman was warm, charming and universally beloved.
A fundraising force, she served on the governing bodies of over twelve Canadian charitable organizations.
Honey relished the luxuries of their affluence, spending time with friends on ski excursions and going shopping with her sister, while Barry maintained his thrifty workaholic lifestyle.
On his 50th birthday celebration, Honey gifted her husband a sports vehicle adorned with a large ribbon.
In the presence of their gathered guests, he requested that she give back the car, which she complied with.
However, in 2017, Honey ultimately persuaded her spouse that it was the right moment to indulge in their wealth.
They listed their mansion in Toronto for sale, and began constructing their ideal residence.
Honey has planned a new estate in the posh Forest Hill neighborhood, featuring staff quarters, a retractable skylight, and a central swimming pool, with an estimated cost of $30 million.
However, the Shermans would never have the opportunity to settle in.
The Shermans’ peculiar last days
In the days prior to the homicides, the Shermans’ conduct appeared slightly peculiar to those acquainted with them.
Honey did not attend a charity board meeting — highly uncommon for the punctual and dependable philanthropist.
“Handling some matters,” she replied, and inquired about her well-being, the Chief Executive Officer of the nonprofit organization emailed her.
With her busy social schedule and the pressure of constructing a grand new house, nobody paid much attention to it.
On the next day, December 13, the couple was spotted looking over blueprints for their new house before heading home in the evening, near HQ Apotex.
Barry sent a single email that evening to a staff member regarding a minor work issue and then became quiet.
The sleepless workaholic typically sent a series of emails into the early hours of the morning.
This would be the final occasion anyone heard from the Shermans.
The famously frugal businessman always had mysterious movements, but he refused to hire a bodyguard, assistant, or personal driver. However, the next day, he didn’t show up for work.
Elise Stern used the key that the Shermans had given her to enter the lockbox and accompanied the potential buyers to the house on December 15.
She had been informed that Honey would be on vacation in Florida and Barry would be at his job.
After showing the potential buyers around the home’s five bedrooms, tennis court, and sauna, she proposed taking a glimpse at one of the property’s more extravagant embellishments.
Despite the harsh winters in Toronto, the Shermans decided to install a pool and hot tub in their basement to enjoy swimming.
‘There are individuals out there who would hold a resentment against them’
Reports of the killings shook Canada.
When the authorities arrived at the housing complex, a web of unfounded speculations circulated within Toronto’s elite circles and pharmaceutical sector.
There had been rumors for a long time about tax havens and shady business transactions.
Did Barry Sherman, during his relentless ascent to power, create numerous adversaries or become the target of a dissatisfied employee’s vengeance when the couple met their demise?
The Toronto Star reported that after the bodies were found, the police were probing the possibility that Barry had taken his own life before Honey was murdered.
The narrative angered their kids.
“In an official declaration, they expressed their astonishment and regarded it as reckless that law enforcement sources have allegedly informed the press about a hypothesis that is not believed to be true by their family, friends, or colleagues.”
The corpses of the individuals underwent a second post-mortem examination, carried out by their own specialists, who carefully examined the proof, as they were worried that the Toronto police were not sufficiently experienced in this matter.
There were no signs of forced entry, but the family pointed out that a window was found open and a door unlocked.
The pathologist concluded that Honey, who had likely been killed in another part of the house, was dragged down to the pool. It was determined that their wrists were bound with zip ties, and there were visible marks on the body.
The incident was being investigated as a double murder, and Toronto authorities cleared Barry as a potential suspect six weeks after the victims’ demise.
“[The individuals] were complex individuals,” Jonathan Sherman informed law enforcement in documents subsequently submitted to a Canadian court.
However, as weeks turned into months and the months turned into years, the case continued to be surrounded by enigma.
On the fourth commemoration of their demise, law enforcement authorities unveiled surveillance video of the “strolling individual”.
A security camera from the neighbor’s house captured an unusual person with an unusual gait trudging through the snow to likely kill them.
However, this lead, similar to every other one, became cold.
Could a $35 million bounty uncover the murderer?
Over the years following the homicides, a division has emerged among Barry and Honey’s offspring.
In 2021, Jonathan, their sole offspring, informed the Toronto Star that he is currently not in communication with his sibling Alex due to her allegations of his participation in the unlawful act.
Due to temporary financial difficulties, Barry had requested his son to repay a $50 million loan a mere fortnight prior to his demise.
In 2021, Jonathan informed Star Toronto that he is not going to kill my dad because he needs $50 million to get through the crisis.
In his last testament, Barry instructed his trustees to equally distribute his approximate $3.2 billion wealth among his four offspring.
They have later sold Apotex, demolished the family residence where their parents passed away, and disposed of the plot of land.
Alex and Jonathan, the parents’ hired private security guards, have been separately employed to tail them wherever they go in the case of the killer coming next.
Toronto police have declined to comment on the accusations made within the Sherman family, saying only that “several persons have been implicated”.
“So far, there is no proof to raise any of the mentioned parties to the position of a suspect,” they stated.
On the fifth commemoration of the killings, the brothers and sisters released individual declarations, appealing for explanations.
Sherman Jonathan, announced in December that he deserved to enjoy the fruits of his parents’ labor with a $35 million reward.
“I still long for my parents more than I can express, and I am always tormented by the events that befell them.”
Alex made no reference to her sibling as she honored their mother and father.
“The devastating way in which they were taken away from us has been incredibly distressing,” she expressed.
“My heart is shattered. My grief is incalculable. My children have lost their grandparents. We long for their guidance, affection, and insight.”