Murder, Money and the Battle for a Pharmaceutical Empire
The call came in to the Toronto police homicide squad on a chilly December afternoon. A man and woman had been found dead at a home in an upmarket suburban neighborhood, posed in a horrifying tableau. They were side by side at the edge of an indoor pool, held up by leather belts looped around their necks and tied to a metal railing. By the time the first officers arrived, in response to a 911 call from a real estate agent who was showing the house, rigor mortis had set in, indicating they’d been dead for hours.
Brandon Price, a young homicide detective with sharp features and close-cropped brown hair, drove to the scene. The house was thick with people: uniformed constables to establish a perimeter, forensic specialists to comb for evidence, a coroner to prepare the remains for transport to an autopsy. An officer took photos, documenting the location and condition of the bodies as well as the state of the many other rooms.
Outside was a growing number of journalists, dispatched as word filtered out about the identities of the deceased. They were Barry and Honey Sherman, one of Canada’s wealthiest and best-known couples and the residents of the house. Barry, 75, was the founder and chairman of Apotex Inc., a large generic pharmaceutical producer. His net worth was estimated at $3.6 billion at the time of his death in 2017. He and Honey, 70, used that money to become major philanthropists, donating generously to charities, cultural institutions and Jewish causes. They weren’t the richest people in Canada, but they were as prominent as anyone, appearing at seemingly every charity gala in Toronto and known to have strong connections to the Liberal Party of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Autopsies would determine that both of the Shermans had died from “ligature neck compression”—strangulation. They were among the wealthiest murder victims in history.
Price and his colleagues have been investigating the Shermans’ deaths for more than five years, alongside private detectives hired by the couple’s adult children: Lauren, who’s now 47; Jonathon, 40; Alexandra, 37; and Kaelen, 32. In that time no one has been arrested, let alone charged. A representative for the Toronto Police Service declined to comment on the specifics of the investigation but said that it remains active and that it would be inaccurate to describe the murders as a cold case. They’re nonetheless an enduring mystery. Who had a motive to kill both Sherman and his wife? Why would that person choose such a gruesome method? And how did they cover their tracks so effectively?