The cause of deaths for Toronto pharmaceutical executive Barry Sherman and his wife were revealed by police on Sunday evening, according to a press release.
“Post-mortem examinations were carried out yesterday and today. The cause of death for both deceased was ligature neck compression,” the release, posted online on Sunday, stated.
“Toronto Police Service Homicide has taken the lead in this suspicious death investigation,” the press release added.
Ligature neck compression is defined by strangulation caused by binding or tying, but police, in the release, didn’t describe their deaths as a homicide. They only said that the deaths were “suspicious,” according to the Toronto Globe and Mail. They were found hanging from a railing around their basement lap pool.
Barry Sherman, 75, is the founder of the Canadian pharmaceutical company, Apotex. According to Forbes magazine, his net worth is around $3.2 billion.
A real estate agent who was helping the couple sell off their home found the bodies of Sherman and his wife, Honey.
The Globe and Mail reported there was no sign of forced entry, and there was no note left behind.
Less than a week before they were found dead, Honey said she was making plans to go south.
“Looking forward to getting together in Florida. I am coming south Monday, December 18 [to]Friday, January 12,” she wrote in an e-mail last Monday, the paper reported. “Barry is coming south for Monday December 25 & going home with me Jan. 12. Please let me know your dates south asap so i can place in my calendar … Looking forward to hearing back asap. Xoxo Honey.”
The couple had four children and recently welcomed a grandchild.
Devastating news about the deaths of prominent members of the Toronto Jewish community, philanthropists and great friends of Israel, Barry and Honey Sherman. “It is a pity for those who are gone and no longer to be found”. חבל על דאבדין ולא משתכחין. @IsraelinToronto @IsraelMFA
— Galit Baram (@GaliBaram) December 15, 2017
The case has dominated the Canadian news, with employees, friends and leading politicians expressing shock, Reuters noted.
The Globe and Mail, Toronto Sun and Toronto Star reported Saturday that police were operating on the theory that Barry Sherman had killed his wife and hanged himself.
A statement issued late Saturday on behalf of the Shermans’ four children criticized that idea.
“We are shocked and think it’s irresponsible that police sources have reportedly advised the media of a theory which neither their family, their friends nor their colleagues believe to be true,” the statement reads.
“We urge the Toronto Police Service to conduct a thorough, intensive and objective criminal investigation,” it said.
Reuters contributed to this report.