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Canada police identify person of interest in deaths of billionaire Jewish couple

Individual not arrested; announcement comes nearly 3 years after the bodies of Barry and Honey Sherman were found near their indoor pool at Toronto home

Barry and Honey Sherman pose for a photo in Toronto, Canada, October 15, 2017. (United Jewish Appeal Federation - Greater Toronto/ Canadian Press via AP)
Barry and Honey Sherman pose for a photo in Toronto, Canada, October 15, 2017. (United Jewish Appeal Federation - Greater Toronto/ Canadian Press via AP)

Toronto police said Wednesday that they have identified a person of interest in the killing of Canadian drug company billionaire Barry Sherman and his wife nearly three years ago.

Police Constable Jenifferjit Sidhu confirmed a report by the Toronto Star that a person of interest had been identified but not arrested.

Sherman, who founded generic drugmaker Apotex Inc., and his wife, Honey, were found dead in their Toronto mansion on December 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 work force of about 11,000. In “Prescription Games,” a 2001 book about the industry, he mused that a rival might want to kill him.

“The branded drug companies hate us. They have hired private investigators on us all the time,” he said. “The thought once came to my mind, why didn’t they just hire someone to knock me off? For a thousand bucks paid to the right person you can probably get someone killed. Perhaps I’m surprised that hasn’t happened.”

This January 6, 2018 photo, shows police crime scene tape marking off the property belonging to Barry and Honey Sherman, who were found strangled inside their home on Dec. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Rob Gillies, File)

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. Additionally, 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.

In this December 21, 2017 file photo, Jonathon Sherman wipes his tears as he and his sister Lauren walk to the stage during a memorial service in Mississauga, Ontario, for their parents Barry and Honey Sherman, who were found dead inside their mansion. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP File)

A separate autopsy was also performed by a forensic pathologist.

The pathologist and private detectives found markings on the victims’ wrists indicating that their hands had been tied with cords or plastic zip ties.

When the bodies were found, however, the wrists were untied, without rope or cords nearby.

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 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.

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