January 26, 2018 / 6:26 PM / 3 years ago

Canadian pharmaceutical billionaires were murdered: police

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian pharmaceutical billionaires Barry and Honey Sherman were murdered in a targeted killing, Toronto police said on Friday, but no one has been charged in their deaths.

FILE PHOTO: One of two bodies is removed from the home of billionaire founder of Canadian pharmaceutical firm Apotex Inc., Barry Sherman and his wife Honey, who were found dead in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, December 15, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo

Police disclosed that they were treating the case as a double murder, six weeks after a realtor found the Shermans dead. They were hanging by belts from a railing next to a swimming pool in their home, police said.

Toronto police homicide detective Susan Gomes said Friday she was “not going to discuss suspects” but believed the Shermans were targeted.

In a statement, the Sherman family said the double homicide designation “was anticipated by the Sherman family.”

The family had long maintained that an initial investigation into the case as a potential murder-suicide was faulty. They had hired a private investigator and conducted an independent autopsy.

In the days immediately after the Shermans were found dead, multiple news organizations quoted police sources as saying investigators were operating a working theory that the deaths were a murder-suicide.

“I don’t know where that came from,” Gomes said, adding that police gave equal weight to three possibilities: double suicide, murder suicide and double homicide, before deciding the evidence supported the latter.

The Shermans’ deaths stunned Canada’s business, political and philanthropic communities, drawing public condolences from people including Canada’s prime minister, Israel’s consul general, and Toronto’s mayor.

Barry Sherman founded Apotex Inc and built it into a pharmaceutical giant.

He and Honey Sherman became known for their philanthropy, donating to hospitals, universities and Jewish organizations.

Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny and Amran Abocar; Editing by Jim Finkle and Bernadette Baum

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