This article first appeared on VICE Canada
Warning: This story contains graphic details about the investigation.
As the public awaits the results of a Toronto police investigation into the deaths of Toronto billionaires Barry and Honey Sherman, the Toronto Star is reporting on a private investigation that concluded the couple was likely murdered by contract killers.
The Shermans, known for their philanthropy work, were found dead in their North York mansion on December 15. Barry Sherman, 75, founded pharmaceutical giant Apotex Inc., and the couple was reportedly worth close to $5 billion. According to police, Barry and Honey, 70, died of “ligature neck compression.
Early media reports said the couple was found hanging by the indoor swimming pool and that police were investigating their deaths as a murder-suicide, however their family described that speculation as “irresponsible.” At the time, police said they were not seeking any suspects and there were no signs of forced entry into the home.
On Friday, the Star published a story based on sources with knowledge of the Sherman family’s private investigation into the deaths. The private investigation team included David Chiasson, the former chief forensic pathologist for Ontario, who conducted a second autopsy, and former homicide detectives. That investigation concluded the couple was murdered, likely by a professional killer or killers.
According to the Star’s sources, the Shermans weren’t hanged but rather were found sitting down by the side of their pool, legs facing away from the pool, with men’s leather belts pulled tightly around their necks. The other end of the belts were tied to a pool railing, ensuring the Shermans would stay upright. The paper also reported that the Shermans’ were likely tied together by their wrists at some point and that there was no sign of drugs in their bodies that could explain their deaths.
Toronto police told VICE Monday that it would not be commenting on the Star’s report.
According to media reports, police were investigating in the couple’s neighbourhood over the weekend. They have classified the deaths as suspicious.
Some have criticized the Star’s story for potentially interfering with the ongoing police investigation.
“It is appalling that certain news organizations are promoting the claims of a few private detectives who haven't even seen the crime scene. The cops should be allowed to do their jobs without this kind of manipulation,” tweeted lawyer and pundit Warren Kinsella. But others argue the public has a right to know if police are adequately investigating the Sherman’s deaths.
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This article originally appeared on VICE CA.