A team of private investigators hired by the family of slain billionaires Barry and Honey Sherman has completed their work, but Toronto police stress the official investigation into the double homicide is continuing.
Toronto Police Service Inspector Hank Idsinga told a news conference at police headquarters Monday morning that a tip line set up last year by the family’s hired investigators – a team led by lawyer Brian Greenspan – has run its course. He asked that anyone who has provided a tip through that line resubmit their information directly to police.
A $10-million reward offered by the family for information still stands, he said.
“All we’re doing is moving the responsibility of collecting the information back to the police service, where it should belong,” Insp. Idsinga said. “At the end of the day, it’s still the Shermans’ responsibility to decide what to do with that tip money.”
Barry, 75, and Honey, 70, Sherman were found dead on Dec. 15, 2017, inside their north Toronto home by a real estate agent who was giving prospective buyers a tour of the 12,000-square-foot mansion. The couple’s bodies were side by side, in a semi-seated position and hanging from belts tied to a railing.
That first night, a police officer told reporters outside the home that there were no signs of forced entry and that they were not looking for any suspects. The suggestion of a murder-suicide enraged the Sherman family, who retained Mr. Greenspan to assemble a team of private investigators to conduct a second autopsy of the bodies, and then an entire parallel investigation.
At a news conference in October, 2018, held at the headquarters of Apotex Inc., a drug company founded by Mr. Sherman, Mr. Greenspan had harsh words for police, and the “failings and deficiencies” in their investigation. It was at that time that the reward and the tip line were launched.
On Monday, Insp. Idsinga said that a total of 343 tips have come to them through the private investigators’ tip line. Police received only 205 tips directly from the public.
“There has been some overlap between the tips we’ve received and the tips the private investigative team received," he said. "We’d like those tips [to come] directly to us, and avoid those time delays and avoid any potential editing of the tips or continuity of the information.”
To date, Insp. Idsinga said investigators have obtained 38 judicial authorizations in the case, allowing them to search homes and commercial properties and electronic devices. They have collected four terabytes of security video. A total of 150 items have been submitted to the provincial Centre for Forensic Sciences for testing, and 243 witnesses have been interviewed. More than 700 investigative actions have been assigned.
“But we are still asking for help,” Insp. Idsinga said. “The family and the police urge anyone who has reliable information regarding the murders, no matter how small or unimportant that information may seem, to please contact the police.”
He expressed gratitude to the Sherman family, whom he said has been co-operative. Through an Apotex spokesperson, the family declined to comment Monday. Mr. Greenspan did not respond to requests for comment.
Insp. Idsinga would not comment on any working theories about suspects or motive. “We’re still combing through a lot of information."