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Tragic Passing of Canadian Billionaires Barry and Honey Sherman (Apotex)


One of the biggest shocks of 2017 was news of the deaths of Barry Sherman and his wife, Honey Sherman. They were discovered dead at their home on December 15, 2017. Police issued a brief statement saying that the couple both died from "ligature neck compression," but the department refused to comment further. The statement said homicide detectives have taken the lead on investigating the deaths, which have been classified as "suspicious."

About the Shermans

Barry (born Bernard) Sherman founded Apotex, a Canadian pharmaceutical corporation, in 1974. The company is the largest producer of generic drugs in Canada, with sales exceeding C$1 billion a year.

Apotex says that Mr. Sherman hadn’t been involved in day-to-day operations since he stepped down as chief executive officer in 2012.

With an estimated net worth of US$3.2 billion at the time of his death, according to Forbes, Sherman was the 12th-wealthiest Canadian. Another publication, Canadian Business, stated his fortune at $4.77 billion (CAD), ranking him the 15th richest in Canada.

A Wall Street Journal article describes the personality of the couple.

Barry Sherman was stiff in social settings and suffered from what he called chronic lethargy and fatigue. He wrote in a memoir that life had no meaning or purpose. When Barry was 10, his father died of a heart attack. “I do not recall feeling any great sense of loss upon my father’s death,” he wrote.

“He would correct your grammar no matter who you were,” Jack Kay, a colleague, said at a memorial service. “He pretty well thought he was smarter than everyone else, and he wasn’t wrong about that.”

Unlike her husband, Honey Sherman was known for her sunny disposition. She helped steer the couple’s social and philanthropic activities.

Multiple Investigations

Despite an ongoing Toronto police investigation into the deaths, the couple’s family hired a former homicide detective to look into the case. Citing police sources, multiple media outlets reported that investigators were working on the theory that the Shermans died in a murder-suicide. The couple’s family rejected that theory and hired their own private investigator to look into the case.

Brian Greenspan, the family’s lawyer, confirmed that former Toronto police detective Thomas Klatt was hired to conduct a separate investigation. Mr. Greenspan said the Toronto Police Service’s early statements about the case invited the public to wrongly infer that the couple’s deaths were the result of a murder-suicide.

The Discovery of the Bodies

The real estate agent who had been helping to sell the mansion found the bodies. The Shermans had just put their house on Old Colony Road up for sale for $6.9 million.

A Toronto police source said the bodies were found at the edge of their basement pool, hanging from a railing that surrounded the pool. Investigators are working on the theory that Mr. Sherman killed his wife, hung her body and then hanged himself at the pool's edge, the source said.

Police, firefighters and paramedics responded to a 911 call for a medical emergency at 11:44 a.m., Constable Hopkinson said. But he would not say who made the call. He said the pair were pronounced dead at the scene.

There was no sign of forced entry to the home. There was no note left behind to explain what had happened.

Memorial Service and Posthumous Awards

Organizers estimated 6,000 people attended the December 21st memorial service at the International Centre in Mississauga, Ontario. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Toronto Mayor John Tory were also among those gathered.

Canadian Gov. Gen. Julie Payette has announced that Dr. Sherman has been appointed a Member of the Order of Canada. He is awarded the distinction for "his entrepreneurship in the pharmaceutical industry and for his unwavering support and commitment to education and charitable causes."

The Order of Canada advisory council, which decides who gets the award, granted it to him at their November meeting. Payette signed the appointment prior to his death.

A Rideau Hall spokeswoman says a family member can stand in for Sherman at the investiture ceremony, likely some time in 2018.

Updates on the Investigation

It’s double murder, not murder-suicide. Barry and Honey Sherman were killed in what looks like a professional, contract killing. That’s the conclusion of a variety of experts who were hired by the family to probe the case.

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There were markings on the Shermans’ wrists, an indication that at some point their hands were tied together, though no rope or other ties were found near the bodies. Toxicology tests on their bodies revealed no sign of drugs that would have contributed to their deaths. Men’s leather belts found around their necks were the cause of the “ligature compression” that killed them. A top forensic pathologist who did a second autopsy determined this was a double homicide, barring any new information that surfaces.

Meanwhile, the Toronto police would not provide any new information or comment on the findings of the family and maintain their classification of the deaths as “suspicious.”

People providing information for this story are not identified as they were not authorized to discuss the case.

Police News Conference

In a news conference on January 26, 2018 Toronto police announced they are investigating the deaths of Barry and Honey Sherman as a targeted double homicide.

Toronto Police Det.-Sgt. Susan Gomes, the officer in charge of the case, updated reporters in a short briefing.

“We believe now, through six weeks’ work and review, that we have sufficient evidence to describe this as a double homicide investigation and that both Honey and Barry Sherman were in fact targeted,” Gomes said.

A realtor’s “lock box,” which gave access to agents and their clients viewing Barry and Honey Sherman’s house, has expanded the pool of “persons of interest” in what is now officially a double murder investigation.

In answering a reporter’s question, she confirmed that “we have that list” of anyone who gained entry to the Old Colony Road home in North Toronto, which was for sale, via the lock box.

Barry Sherman Allegedly Duped by Convicted Fraudster

On the day he was last seen alive, Barry Sherman's lawyers filed documents in court supporting a lawsuit against a convicted fraudster who had allegedly duped the billionaire philanthropist out of a $150,000 investment, Canadian television newsmagazine CBC News: The Fifth Estate has learned.

Ontario Superior Court documents show Sherman intended to invest in an app called Trivia For Good, which described itself as a "mobile-trivia app that offers huge cash prizes."

Sherman launched his lawsuit in May 2017 against Shaun Rootenberg and other parties. The lawsuit alleged "a fraudulent scheme" had cheated Sherman out of his investment.

Court documents show that Rootenberg, a previously convicted fraudster also known as Shaun Rothberg, came up with the Trivia For Good concept. The idea was to make money by selling advertising displayed on the app.

Sherman was well known for being litigious in his business dealings. The Rootenberg lawsuit was one of hundreds the billionaire or Apotex had filed in the course of his business career.

It was in the final week of his life that Sherman stepped up his legal efforts to recover the $150,000 he said he had lost, a relatively small amount for a man reportedly worth nearly $5 billion. Still, on Dec. 13 his lawyers filed an aggressive motion to the court — with the goal of moving the case more promptly to trial.

Emails filed in court show Sherman was introduced to the investment opportunity through his longtime friend Myron Gottlieb.

Those emails show correspondence between Sherman's holding company, Sherfam Inc., Gottlieb and Shaun Rootenberg.

Gottlieb emailed officials at Sherfam Inc. in August 2015 to thank them for the promised $150,000 investment.

"You advised that Barry Sherman will purchase 750,000 units," Gottlieb wrote on Aug. 19, 2015.

Gottlieb then provided instructions for how Sherman's $150,000 should be wired to the trivia company's bank account. But according to the allegations filed in court, Rootenberg was a participant in a scheme "to defraud" Sherman and divert the funds partly for his own benefit.

According to the court documents, Gottlieb, who is not named in the Sherman lawsuit, met Rootenberg in 2012 when they were both serving time in prison for fraud.

Gottlieb was convicted along with Livent co-founder Garth Drabinsky in 2009 for defrauding their now-defunct musical production company Livent Inc.

In an email to The Fifth Estate, Gottlieb noted, "I am not a party to the action commenced by Barry Sherman." He declined further comment except to say he was "privileged to be a friend of Barry and Honey Sherman."

Rootenberg was arrested again June 2017 on criminal charges. Toronto Police allege Rootenberg defrauded two women with whom he had intimate relationships. The Fifth Estate has learned that Barry Sherman provided a statement to police in the criminal case against Rootenberg.

Rootenberg was held at Toronto South Detention Centre after his arrest. He was released on bail earlier in January 2018. CBC News: The Fifth Estate was unable to reach Rootenberg for comment after leaving an email and phone message.

In his statement of defence filed in October 2017, Rootenberg said he "disputes the claim … that he contributed to the loss" and requested that the lawsuit be "dismissed in its entirety."

Barry Sherman’s cousin makes explosive allegations

A cousin of Barry Sherman, who recently lost a $1-billion court battle with the late billionaire, says he believes Sherman killed his wife and then himself, alleging that he was asked by Sherman twice in the 1990s to make arrangements to kill his wife Honey.

Kerry Winter made the explosive allegations in two separate interviews with the Toronto Star and the Daily Mail TV of the UK.

Winter, along with his siblings, has been locked in a prolonged court battle with Sherman over their late father’s former company. He says the founder of generic drug giant Apotex had a “loose bolt” and hated his wife but did not want her to take half his money in a divorce.

“There was a time I met Barry in his office and out of the blue he said, ‘You know, sometimes I want to kill that bitch.’ And he says, ‘Can you do it?’” Winter told Daily Mail TV.

“And I said, ‘Oh come on Barry, you’re not going to take out the mother of your kids.’ He says, ‘Why not?’ And he was dead serious.”

Winter, who admits to drug use and association with a bad crowd at that time but says he is now clean, claims he called a friend about Sherman’s request.

“And he said, ‘The body will go missing. There’s not going to be a bullet to the back of the head or a car exploding. She’s going to go missing.’…. if we push this button, there’s no going back.’”

Winter alleges Sherman backed off on his plan and when asked by the Star if he believed the comments Sherman allegedly made in the 90’s about this wife held true in 2017, he said, “They could have kissed and made up.”

But he still thinks that Sherman finally did kill his wife and then “freaked out.”

Sherman had been battling Winter and his siblings over a drug company he bought and sold that had been founded by his uncle. The cousins argued they were entitled to almost $1 billion in compensation but a judge ruled against them in September, later ordering the plaintiffs to pay Sherman $300,000 in legal costs. The siblings were appealing the ruling.

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A year later, police still struggling to solve deaths of Honey and Barry Sherman

December 2018

Almost a year after billionaire couple Honey and Barry Sherman were found dead in their Toronto mansion, police are still struggling to solve the mystery.

The family put together a team of highly experienced former homicide detectives and forensic experts to launch their own parallel investigation. The Shermans' four children have remained virtually silent about the case, declining all interview requests.

In October 2018, the team announced a reward of up to $10 million for information that would help solve the mystery.

Toronto lawyer Brian Greenspan, who is leading the team of private investigators, called the killings "deliberate" and that the bodies were "staged" in an attempt to fool police.

Greenspan also accused police of mishandling the investigation by overlooking about 25 palm prints and fingerprints the private investigators found in the home.

"The failure to follow simple procedures regarding print elimination fell below the best-practice standards," he said.

The lawyer also complained police took too long to interview some of the people who were in the home when the bodies were discovered.

Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders shot back, suggesting Greenspan is in no position to know what evidence police have collected.

"If you have an opinion on it, you're entitled to that opinion," Saunders said of Greenspan. "We don't deal with opinions. We deal with facts."

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Barry and Honey Sherman’s neighbours cite mysterious 911 call, visitor on day before billionaires found dead

May 2019

Toronto Police were investigating a mysterious 911 call down the street from Barry and Honey Sherman's home at the same time as the Apotex founder and his wife lay dead or dying, a Star investigation reveals.

The Shermans lived at 50 Old Colony Rd. They were last seen alive on the evening of Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. Their bodies were discovered two days later. No official time of death has been released but sources close to the case have said it is believed the Shermans died late on Wednesday or early Thursday morning. Police are investigating the case as a targeted double homicide.

On the Thursday morning at 9:45 a.m., a full day before the Sherman bodies were discovered, homeowners down the road from the Shermans answered a knock on their door. The Star has agreed not to identify the homeowners or their exact address. They live roughly 10 houses away on Old Colony.

The man at the door was a uniformed police officer asking if someone in their home had made a 911 call. The homeowners said no. The officer shared few details, but said police believed it came from the homeowners' house, but did not say if the call had come from a cellular phone or a landline. The officer did not say what time the call came in.

The next day, when news surfaced late in the afternoon of the Shermans' bodies being discovered, one of the homeowners happened to be driving near Toronto Police Services 33 Division (the local division that was at the time investigating the Shermans' deaths before the homicide unit took over). The homeowner went in to make a report, wanting to alert them to the fact a police officer had been on Old Colony Rd. the day before.

"It was just too much of a coincidence and I thought police should know," the homeowner told the Star. That Friday night at the police division, the homeowner was told by police that "maybe some wires were crossed" and that is why it appeared a 911 call had been made.

Barry and Honey Sherman’s bodies were found posed like the sculptures in their basement

December 12, 2019

The positioning of the bodies of murder victims Barry and Honey Sherman was eerily similar to a tableau of two life-sized, human-shaped art figures in a basement room near the crime scene in the billionaire couple’s Toronto home.

The Sherman bodies and the two art figures owned by the Shermans were in a seated position, and both Barry Sherman and the male art figure had one leg crossed over the other.

This is one of several new pieces of information the Star has recently uncovered in its ongoing investigation of a case that marks its second anniversary on Dec. 15.

Among the others: the revelation that a window was open and a door unlocked when police arrived at the Sherman home; the precise location of Barry’s gloves and papers and Honey’s cellphone in the house, which are significant because they may indicate where each was attacked; and the potential disruption of evidence in the home because police did not properly secure the scene.

Toronto police have said they can’t answer any questions posed by the media related to this case. However, as part of a court process in which a Star reporter has been allowed to question one of the Sherman detectives, the detective has said the homicide squad has a working theory of the case and “an idea of what happened,” and police are “cautiously optimistic” that the probe is progressing toward a resolution.

The Star has recently learned more details about what transpired in December 2017 at 50 Old Colony Rd., the house that the billionaire founder of generic drug maker Apotex and his wife built in the 1980s and were trying to sell at the time of their deaths. The house was torn down earlier this year at the request of the Shermans’ children.

Barry and Honey’s lifeless bodies were discovered by realtors and clients who were touring the house on Friday, Dec. 15, 2017. The couple was last seen alive on the evening of Wednesday, Dec. 13. Initially thought by police to be a murder-suicide, their deaths were later determined to be a “targeted” double homicide, according to Det. Sgt. Susan Gomes, who was then the lead detective on the case.

Their bodies were found in what Gomes told news conference was a “semi-seated position.” Belts around their necks were attached to a low railing at one end of their basement swimming pool, holding them upright. Brian Greenspan, one of the lawyers working for the Sherman family, has said publicly that the Shermans were found seated side by side, and that one of Barry’s legs was “crossed over the other.” People who saw the bodies in the pool room that Friday have confirmed this to the Star. One of those people said the bodies were not seated in a 90-degree position but tipped back slightly, with the belts around their necks holding them from falling backward into the pool.

This arrangement has puzzled police and private investigators, as well as friends and family of the Shermans. A member of the private investigation team has referred to the positioning as “staged.” The Star has found an eerie similarity to the sculptures seated in a room at the other end of the basement.

The sculptures in question were made in the 1970s by self-described “junk sculptor” Leo Sewell. According to Sewell’s website, the Philadelphia man grew up near a dump and creates art from discarded materials chosen “for their colour, shape, texture, durability and patina.” Sewell’s art shapes have included human figures and animals.

The two sculptures that found their way into the Sherman hands were originally displayed in the Eaton’s store at College and Yonge streets, which closed in 1977 when the Toronto Eaton Centre opened. Friends of the Shermans purchased the sculptures and kept them in their Toronto home; when they moved to the U.S., Honey asked if she could have the sculptures. The art pieces moved houses with the Shermans and eventually, when the house on Old Colony Road was built in 1985, became a feature of the 12,000-square-foot home.

The figures are male and female. The male sculpture’s left leg is crossed over its right leg. One of the Sherman children described the sculptures to the Star as “creepy,” adding, “We all hated those things.” A regular visitor to the home recently used the same word — “creepy” — to describe the figures.

Sewell told the Star that he created the sculptures in a seated position, and that the arms and legs were not movable. Shown a photo of the sculptures in the Sherman’s basement room, Sewell said they “need repair” but otherwise appeared to be as they were when he constructed them in the 1970s.

The last known photo of the sculptures — other than photos police presumably took as part of their six-week analysis of the house after the bodies were discovered — was taken during preparations for putting the Shermans’ house on the market. The photos show the two sculptures “sitting” on two big speaker units in a “hobby room” in the basement at the front of the house. The pool room where the Shermans’ bodies were found was at the other end of the basement, separated by the garage and a rec room.

The real estate photos were part of the online package of pictures displaying the Sherman home. The photos went online in late November, three weeks before the bodies were found.

There are similarities and differences in the positioning of the Sherman bodies and the sculptures.

Both are seated, with the male sculpture and Barry Sherman seated on the left of the female sculpture and Honey Sherman, respectively.

In the case of the male sculpture and Barry Sherman, both had one leg crossed over the other. The sculpture’s left leg was crossed over the right. Neither the police nor the family’s private investigation team have publicly said which of Barry’s legs was crossed over the other, but a Sherman private investigation source told the Star a year ago that his right leg was crossed over his left. In the case of the female sculpture and Honey Sherman, the female sculpture had one leg crossed, whereas Honey’s legs were in front of her and uncrossed.

The Shermans’s bodies were found seated on the floor, with their legs in front of them. The sculptures were seated on raised speakers, and had their legs dangling, as if on a chair, which is how they were constructed — the legs were fixed and could not be extended. The female sculpture’s arms were at its side, the same as the way Honey was found. Barry’s arms were by his side, pulled back slightly by the sleeves of his bomber jacket, while the male sculpture had its hands resting on the crossed leg.

The Star investigation has also learned:

• When homicide officers took over the case, they said there were no signs of forced entry at the home. However, a window in a basement room was found open, and had routinely been left open to air out the smell of new paint applied to the walls to mask previous water damage.

A door leading outside from the basement to the patio was also found unlocked when the Shermans’ real estate agent toured another agent and a couple interested in buying the house through the home on the morning the bodies were discovered. Family and friends say the Shermans were in the habit of leaving doors unlocked, so this would not have been unusual. The basement door exits to stairs that led up to a patio on the west side of the house. An intruder who knew the layout, and knew the door was unlocked, could have entered and left the house through a neighbours yard without being seen.

• Personal items belonging to Barry and Honey were found in locations that may shed light on events immediately prior to their deaths.

During the Friday morning real estate tour that led to the discovery of the bodies, Honey’s iPhone was found in a powder room that friends say she never used, at the front of the house. Sources close to the private investigation have speculated that Honey came home on Wednesday evening, entered through the side door as she normally did, was surprised by an attacker and ran to the powder room.

Also discovered during the real estate tour was a thick sheaf of papers — the home inspection report for 50 Old Colony Rd. — and Barry’s leather gloves. Those items were found immediately inside the door that led from the basement garage. Insiders have told the Star that Barry had the paper copy of the inspection report at his office, and had said he would bring it home. The inspection report was found on the tiled floor of the hallway, with Barry’s gloves on top of it. Not realizing they were in a crime scene, the realtor picked up the report and gloves and placed them on a knee-high ledge that ran along the hallway.

• Entering the vestibule outside the pool, with the clients and the other realtor in tow, the realtor made the grisly discovery. Of note, most of the basement lights were off when the realtors and clients had made their way downstairs. Also, the main lights were off in the pool room, although there was a glow in the room because the underwater lights of the pool were on.

Seeing the strange tableau in the pool room, the realtor moved the clients and the other realtor back upstairs. After the clients and their realtor left, the realtor told the housekeeper and a woman watering plants what she had seen. The glimpse the realtor had was so fleeting that at first she wondered if the Shermans were doing a form of meditation. The woman watering the plants volunteered to check. She came back up and reported to the realtor that the Shermans were dead. The Shermans’ realtor then called Honey’s sister, Mary Shechtman, who was in Florida and had been trying to reach Honey that morning. The realtor then called police.

• Police officers arrived at the house along with paramedics at about 11:45 a.m. After confirming that the Shermans were dead, they set about securing the witnesses at the scene.

Present in the house were the Shermans’ realtor, the housekeeper and the woman who tended and watered the Shermans’ plants. Each was placed in a separate room, according to insiders, and they were not allowed to speak to anyone before being taken to a police station for formal interviews.

The housekeeper, left to her own devices in a room near the front hallway, did what came naturally to her — she took her mop and continued cleaning the floors. Eventually, an officer told her to stop, so as not to contaminate the crime scene.

Source reveals Honey Sherman updated her will shortly before billionaire couple's murder

December 15, 2019

Another piece of information has come to light in the unsolved murder of billionaire couple Barry and Honey Sherman, who were killed in their Toronto mansion two years ago.

According to the Toronto Star, a confidant of Honey told police detectives that Honey had made changes to her will three weeks before her and her husband were murdered.

Friends and family were unable to find a will belonging to Honey after the couple were found dead in their home in December 2017.

Little information has been made public about the two-year investigation and information surrounding the Sherman estate is sealed to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Sherman murders: Private investigation concludes, Toronto police ask for help with new tip line

December 16, 2019

The private investigation into the murders of billionaire couple Barry and Honey Sherman launched by their family has concluded but Toronto police are still asking for the public’s help with a new tip line.

Insp. Hank Idsinga with the homicide squad told reporters Monday that Toronto police have received 205 tips and that the private investigator team hired by the Sherman’s received 343 tips.

“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 contact the police,” Idsinga said.

The press conference comes shortly after after the two-year anniversary of their deaths. Both Barry and Honey were found inside their Toronto home on Old Colony Road near Bayview Avenue and Highway 401 just before 11:45 a.m. on Dec. 15, 2017.

Police have also set up a direct email address for the case. Tips can be provided at or anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 416-222-8477.

In October 2018, the Sherman family put up a $10-million reward for any major tips that would crack the unsolved case. The family is still offering the reward, Idsinga said.

“That reward is still outstanding. And all we are doing now is moving the responsibility of collecting the information back to the police service where it should belong,” Idsinga said. “At the end of the day it’s still the Sherman’s responsibility to decide what they want to do with that tip money.”

Police are also asking those who submitted tips to the private investigator team to re-submit them to Toronto police as they are now solely in charge of the investigation.

Investigators said Barry and Honey were found dead in the lower-level pool area, reportedly hanging by belts from a railing on the pool deck and wearing their clothing. A post-mortem examination determined the Shermans died of “ligature neck compression.” It was also determined that the couple likely died two days before they were found on Dec. 13, 2017.

Police ruled the deaths of the billionaire couple a double homicide.

Idsinga said 150 items have been submitted to the Centre of Forensic Science for testing, 243 witnesses have been interviewed, and four terabytes of security video have been obtained.

Idsinga added that solving the case has been a priority for the police and said that although it’s been two years, other cases have been be solved years later.

“There’s lots of speculation and there’s lots of theories. We’re still combing through a lot of information,” Idsinga said.

The Sherman family was not in attendance.

Court documents reveal more details

January 2021

It's been more than a year since the police provided a formal update about their investigation to the public, but more than 300 pages of recently released court documents help paint a picture of what's been going on behind the scenes.

The four court documents are known as information to obtain submissions, or ITOs, which police present to a court to secure search warrants.

The ITOs show police have obtained warrants to search the Shermans' phone, bank and health information, as well as computers found in their home and Barry Sherman's office and lab at Apotex.

The latest ITO, from February 2018, reveals police were investigating possible financial motives for the double homicide.

In the weeks leading up to their deaths, Apotex lost a $500 million court case involving a drug patent. It had also just laid off numerous staff, and more cuts were coming.

While the information piqued the interest of investigators, Barry Sherman's long-time business partner Jack Kay told them it likely had nothing to do with the couple's deaths.

"[Barry] would not be fazed by Apotex's financial situation, as Apotex was only one part of Sherman's holdings, and they have other money," Kay told investigators, according to the ITO.

It's been estimated the Shermans were worth anywhere from $5 billion to $10 billion.

The ITOs also reveal police wanted to know where and how the Shermans were spending their money.

"Bank records would help track their movements," according to an affidavit sworn by investigators.

The ITOs also say "investigators do not have a detailed understanding of the couple, their friends or possible enemies."

Sherman son hires ex-Toronto police inspector for ongoing probe

February 2021

Jonathon Sherman has hired retired Toronto police inspector Doug Grady to uncover who was responsible for killing his parents, billionaire philanthropists Honey and Barry Sherman.

Grady is a former unit commander with the Toronto Police Service who once led its homicide squad. He's also worked in the intelligence and organized crime units. He retired in February 2011.

He has not previously been linked to the Sherman family's efforts to investigate the December 2017 homicides in the couple's home.

The other three of the Shermans' children are not on board with the effort.

Jonathon Sherman had also turned to an international legal and investigations firm called Confidential Global Investigations.

CBC News sources said that Confidential Global Investigations is providing legal support and a review of the evidence gathered by the initial private investigation, which includes the results of the private autopsies done on the Shermans' bodies, a forensic crime scene analysis and interviews with potential witnesses.

The sources say little new information has been uncovered by the U.S. firm and Grady — at least nothing that Toronto police haven't already found themselves.

Toronto police release video footage of suspect

December 2021

Speaking at a news conference at Toronto police headquarters on Tuesday (December 14) morning, Det.- Sgt. Brandon Price, the lead investigator in the case, told reporters that after sifting through terabytes of video footage from around the Sherman property at the time of the homicides, police have been able to identify everyone seen on camera with the exception of one individual.

"This individual's actions are highly suspicious," Price told reporters Tuesday, adding that the suspect stayed in a "defined area" that was "tight to the Sherman property" for some time.

"This footage is not the only footage of this individual that we have. We have done an exhaustive video canvass of the whole area and we have... this individual coming into a very defined area around the Sherman's household and remaining in that area for a period, and then leaving from that area," Price said.

Price did not rule out the possibility that this person could have a legitimate reason for being outside the Sherman home at the time of the murders but said they were around the property for a "very suspicious amount of time."

He would not confirm whether the suspect was seen on video actually walking on to the Sherman property.

Police have previously confirmed to the public that they have identified "persons of interest" in the case but this is the first time investigators have labelled someone a “suspect.”

"Through our investigation, we have been unable to determine what this individual's purpose was in the neighbourhood. The timing of this individual's appearance is in line with when we believe the murders took place. Based on this evidence we are classifying this individual as a suspect," Price said.

"Though there is a lack of detail in features of this individual, we believe that further information from the public could assist us in making an identification. I would ask that you pay particular attention to the gait or the stride or the walk style that the person has on the video."

When asked why all of the video footage of the suspect has not been released to the public, Price said this video contains the best images that they have of the individual.

He said police cannot confirm the age, gender, weight or skin colour of the suspect but noted that they are between five-foot-six and five-foot-nine inches tall.

"If you recognize yourself in this video, please come forward so you can be excluded from our investigation," he said.

"However, it is our hope that someone will come forward with a name when they recognize the individual's walk, the way in which they kick up their right foot with every step, knowing that the person was or is connected to the Sherman family or the area on that day, at that time."

Family believes that there may be a religious motive

December 2021

As previously reported, Barry and Honey met with builders of their new home at the Apotex offices at 5 p.m. The meeting was to have been at Old Colony, but for some unknown reason was changed to Apotex. Builder Joe Brennan recalled to police that while Barry normally worked late, he commented that he had a reason to be home earlier than usual.

Honey left Apotex before 6:30 p.m., in her champagne-coloured Lexus SUV, and the three builders left in another vehicle. Honey “pocket dialed” one builder by mistake and he heard her “giggling for about 20 seconds” before she ended the call. While Barry stayed at work until about 8:30 p.m., Honey drove to Bayview Village shopping centre. The documents indicate she went to a CIBC branch between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. and also to the MAC Cosmetics store inside the mall. It was not until four months after the murders that the police went to Bayview Village looking for security video. Most of the video had been overwritten but they were able to obtain footage of Honey at the CIBC branch. This part of the police documents is heavily redacted, but given that the branch would be long closed by the time Honey arrived it is possible the video police have shows Honey taking out cash from the ATM.

Police have continued to seal any information regarding what time the Shermans arrived home. The Star’s previous reporting suggests Honey was home by 8:30 p.m. (the Bayview mall is less than a 10-minute drive from Old Colony) and Barry shortly after.

As they worked to complete a timeline of events, detectives conducted interviews with family and friends.

Mary Shechtman, Honey’s sister and aunt to the four Sherman children, told police she “believes that there may be a religious motive,” noting to detectives that the Shermans were “strong supporters of Israel and Honey was very vocal about being Jewish.”

Ted Florence, a nephew of Barry and Honey (his mother is Barry’s sister) told police something similar, saying it “could also be a religious hate crime because the Shermans were involved in the Jewish community.”

There is no indication police ever found evidence of a religious connection.

More specific allegations were made to police by the four Sherman children — Jonathon, Lauren, Alexandra and Kaelen — and a handful of Sherman friends interviewed by police.

There are extensive redactions in this part of the police documents — the names of at least three men who separately knew their father and the children’s theories as to why they were involved.

Jonathon gave two sworn statements. In one he said “there are people out there who would have a grudge against them and would have a reason to hurt them.” Jonathon’s husband of three years, Fred Mercure, also suggested a name of someone to investigate.

Lauren, the eldest Sherman child, who lives in Whistler, B.C., also pointed police in a direction. In the portion of her statement that was not redacted she said it was “ridiculous” to think that her parents killed themselves, or their father killed their mother. She described them as “really lovable people.” She did tell police that when she was growing up her parents were the “swearing and screaming type” but said they “never got physical.”

Daughters Alexandra and Kaelen, and their respective partners Brad Krawczyk and Jared Render, also provided their suspicions, the documents reveal.

The Star knows, through interviews with family members including Jonathon and Alexandra, the identities of at least two of the individuals — both men — put forward by the children as potential suspects. We are not identifying them at this time. Both men were interviewed by the police and the Star, both provided alibis to police and the Star for their whereabouts, and said they had nothing to do with the murders.

By the summer of 2018, police had interviewed about 150 people, made up of family and friends of the Shermans. That included five men who passed around “gossip” first overheard in a hot tub at the Mayfair fitness club in North York. As police were told, there was a rumour going around that a “private investigator had Honey’s phone or GPS and was able to track her movements before she arrived home” the night she was murdered. As police discovered, the man who overheard the conversation (he did not know the Shermans) kept his eyes closed and never saw the two men having the discussion across from him in the hot tub. Like so many bits of rumour and gossip in the Sherman case (a prevalent rumour police and the Star have heard is that Bill and Hillary Clinton were somehow involved) this one led nowhere.

Police hit upon a plan involving cellular telephone communications. Police decided to gather all of the cellular numbers for any person in the Sherman family’s orbit — including most family members, many friends and business associates including employees of Apotex — and then determine if those phones were either anywhere near the Sherman home that night or if they were in communication with anyone who was.

The science behind such a request is this: If you have your cellular phone turned on, it “pings” off a telecommunications tower and provides the approximate location of the cellphone. In their application to get permission to legally breach the privacy rights of many cellular phone subscribers police say they were trying to “include” or “exclude” people from being persons of interest in the murders. A person of interest is one rung below a suspect, police have explained. The application was granted by Justice Leslie Pringle of the Ontario Court of Justice for most of the numbers, but she denied police access to 11 numbers. The actual numbers requested are redacted in the police documents.

A flaw in this investigative approach, of course, is that anyone using a “burner” phone (a disposable phone with air time purchased with cash) would not be picked up.

The Star does not know which cellular phones were requested by police. Jonathon told the Star last year that “I would hope they have looked at all the family.” Jonathon has enlisted the services of a New York lawyer to help with his own investigation of the murders, he told the Star. He has also told the Star that his sister Alexandra thinks he was involved, a notion he hotly contested when he spoke to the Star last December. He was in Japan with husband Fred prior to the murders, returning home on the evening of Monday, Dec. 12. He said he and Fred were home on the night of the murders recovering from “jet lag” and he provided the Star with a photo of a hand — Jonathon said it’s his hand — holding a piece of paper containing his “cryptocurrency codes” taken at his home north of Toronto at 7:17 p.m. the night of the murders.

Police said in a press conference last week that their review of this Everest-sized mountain of cellular data has concluded. Based on the Star’s experience with the Sherman sealing orders, police would not have revealed this information if they had discovered proof that one of the cellular phones they tracked was in the area of the Sherman home that night.

The newly released documents also reveal that police, during this first six-month period, spent time trying to understand the Sherman family dynamics and Barry’s business and investments.

Barry and Honey Sherman murder detectives learn cellular ‘tower dump’ was a bust

January 13, 2022

The Toronto Star had reported on January 4, 2022 that in September 2020, homicide detectives believed they were on to something as they began to compare roughly 300 cellphone numbers of people connected to the Shermans to “tower dumps” of cellular phone communications near their home and Barry’s office. The hope was to find a link to the mysterious “walking man” believed to be the killer.

Bell, Rogers, Telus and Freedom Mobile were served with court-ordered “production orders” to release cellphone “tower dumps” to the Toronto Police Intelligence Unit. It was a considerable task for the telecommunications companies, assembling thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands of bits of data — the electronic tracings of phone calls and text messages that passed through cellular towers in two areas Barry and Honey travelled both the night they were murdered, and at other key times.

These so-called “tower dumps” were then compared to about 300 cellphone numbers police had gathered in their investigation — belonging to a mix of Sherman friends, family, work associates and others. Maybe, detectives thought, just maybe, they would strike investigative gold.

At first, that’s what it looked like but by late summer 2021 — just over four months ago — elation turned to dismay.

“We’ve exhausted all the avenues (of the cellular data),” said Toronto police Det.-Const. Dennis Yim during a recent court appearance. “We’ve done comparisons and analysis and those comparisons and analyses have not borne any fruit.”

Yim provided this information during questioning by a Toronto Star reporter in the Star’s ongoing attempts to gain access to sealed search warrant and production orders detailing the murder investigation. The Ontario Court of Justice hearing was presided over by Justice Leslie Pringle.

None of the 300 numbers turned up in the tower dumps at the relevant times, and none shed any light on the identity of the walking man, or provided evidence of the police theory that Barry and Honey were under surveillance.

That’s why police, for the first time in four years, proactively released information — the “walking man” video — at a press conference in December. Having fought the Star to keep the video and other elements of the probe sealed for four years, police turned to the public for assistance.

Barry Sherman was the founder of Apotex, Canada’s generic drug giant. He and his wife, Honey, were philanthropists, donating millions of dollars a year. They were murdered the evening of Dec. 13, 2017, and their bodies were discovered 36 hours later by a realtor touring clients through their home on Old Colony Rd., near Bayview Avenue and Highway 401.

Newly released documents reveal that within a few months of the murders, homicide detectives developed the belief that the “walking man” with an odd gait captured on several home security camera systems in the neighbourhood was the killer. Detectives hoped they would find an electronic trace of the walking man, perhaps in cellular communication with someone else, though police had no visual evidence the walking man was using a cellphone.

But Yim told court that police failed to come up with any relevant information when they compared the “tower dumps” to those 300 cellphone numbers. Nor did they have success in comparing it with some other information they had gathered from a production order served somewhere outside Canada. Police will not say which country was involved or what the information was. Yim said there is still a second out-of-country production order served a year ago and they still await the results.

Now, Yim told court during cross-examination, police are focusing their efforts elsewhere.

“The investigation has gone on to a different phase,” said Yim, but he did not describe what he meant. The documents show police have received two batches of information, apparently from people they had previously interviewed. The pages describing that information are completely redacted (even the headings), and police say to reveal this would hurt their probe by revealing “persons of interest.”

The Star is arguing that police are too liberally using that definition, telling the court that a person speculating that someone may have been upset with Barry and Honey does not justify sealing the documents.

There are now about 2,000 pages of police search-warrant and production orders in the four-year-old case from 12 separate requests police have made to Justice Pringle.

Each time a new section of the documents is unsealed, more information comes to light. For example, it has now been revealed that police fingerprinted the interior and exterior of Honey Sherman’s Lexus SUV (which she arrived home in the night she was murdered, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. The documents do not reveal if Barry’s car was fingerprinted. (They arrived home separately, Honey first.)

Also unsealed this week are photographs police took of Honey’s Lexus and Barry’s silver convertible Ford Mustang the day the bodies were discovered. Barry’s car is parked in the underground garage, close to the door that leads out of the garage to a long hallway that either takes you to a staircase going upstairs, or to the swimming pool room where both bodies were later found. The photos of the Mustang support the stories of the penny-pinching billionaire — his car was more than a decade old, dirty inside. There’s a child’s car seat in the back that Barry used when one of his grandchildren came for a ride.

Pringle, in a previous ruling on an earlier stage of the Star’s arguments, noted the importance of the process the Star has undertaken, saying it “is beneficial in shining some light on the investigation and encouraging police accountability.”

Barry Sherman owed $1 billion and was not going to pay, police documents reveal

January 19, 2022

Barry Sherman faced a crushing payout — he owed $1 billion to other companies and had no intention of paying. Two of his most trusted advisers wanted him to show his favourite lieutenant the door. At home, things were better with Honey and the kids than in the past, but detectives’ notebooks quickly filled up with tales of past family turmoil and separate sleeping arrangements.

There’s an old saying in homicide investigations, “there are no secrets in a murder case,” something made abundantly clear in police documents newly unsealed by the court. The files, a collection of interview statements and police theories, also shed new light on Honey’s sister’s belief that the couple was murdered for religious reasons.

Barry Sherman, founder of drug company Apotex, and wife Honey, were killed in their Toronto home the evening of Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, and their bodies were discovered 36 hours later by a realtor touring clients through the property, which was listed for sale at $6.9 million. An offer of $5 million for the house on Old Colony Road had just come in, but Barry dismissed it.

In the early days of the now four-year-old probe, detectives and forensic experts were of the belief that the deaths were a murder-suicide. Detectives, pursuing that theory, asked people about the couple’s mental and financial health. All of these interviews have become part of police documents used to convince a judge to authorize search warrants and production orders at various stages of the investigation. The Star has been arguing in court since early 2018 that these documents should be unsealed so that the troubled investigation can be scrutinized. The first unsealing came in late 2020 and involved descriptions of the crime scene.

In this most recent round of unsealing, following a Star reporter’s cross-examination of the sole full-time homicide detective on the case, portions of family interviews previously redacted have been made public.

In one example, Jonathon Sherman, Barry and Honey’s then-34-year old son, described to police how he and husband Fred Mercure had been on vacation in Japan since Nov. 28, 2017, returning home on Tuesday, Dec. 12. Fred, in his interview, told police that on Friday he and Jonathon drove to their cottage and it was around noon that Jonathon received a call from his aunt, Mary Shechtman, with the news.

Standing in the cottage driveway after the call from his aunt, “Jonathon told Fred that his parents had been murdered and that they were found in the basement and that his aunt was very distraught,” according to the police account of Fred’s statement.

In his interview with police, Jonathon dismissed any suggestion that his parents’ deaths were a murder-suicide, saying they “never had issues with mental health or self-harm.”

In answer to questions about his parents’ home life, Jonathon said they had not slept in the same room for 10 years; but he had no concerns about infidelity in their marriage and did not think his parents would ever get divorced.

“According to Jonathon, his parents had a private relationship and a public relationship. In public they were the world’s greatest power couple, however, in private they did not get along. When the children were younger, there was a lot of shouting and yelling in the house. Over the past five years their relationship got a lot better, possibly because the children had grown up,” the detective notes in his summary of Jonathon’s witness statement.

Lauren Sherman, the eldest of Barry and Honey’s four children, was in Mexico at the time of the murders. She told police she spoke to her father every day. She also said that in past years she “fought with” her parents frequently, but the relationship had improved in recent years. While her parents used to argue a lot, “over time her parents sorted out their issues and in the past five years they were seen walking around holding hands.”

The children spoke openly with police about their parents’ behaviour, particularly Barry’s brilliance and how he was at times awkward. Alexandra, one of the Sherman daughters, told police she “would always joke that her father was autistic because he was so brilliant but could not interact with people socially or read people and people would take advantage of him.”

Brad Krawczyk, who is married to Alexandra, worked (and still does) for Sherfam, Barry’s holding company. He told detectives “Barry seemed quiet lately, but not sad despite losing a total of about a billion dollars in lawsuits in the last three months.” Brad said Barry was “maintaining that he was not going to pay them (the pharmaceutical companies that had sued over patent issues) and that they were financially stable. Everyone was told everything was fine.” Following the death of the Shermans, Apotex settled with the companies for an undisclosed amount.

As the Star has previously reported, there was a cash crunch in late 2017, and Barry was looking for ways to pay numerous settlements, including asking Jonathon to put conventional mortgages on properties Barry purchased for him, and pay Barry back between $50 million and $60 million. Those mortgages were never arranged.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Desai, the chief executive officer of Apotex, who had been hand-picked by Barry, had landed in hot water over allegations from rival generic firm Teva in the summer of 2017. Teva claimed Desai had received internal Teva documents through a relationship he had with a former Teva employee. Jack Kay, Barry’s second-in-command at Apotex, “believed that, for the good of the company, Jeremy should have been let go,” according to Kay’s statement to police. Kay said that was the only time in their more than three decades together that he disagreed with Barry.

Alex Glasenberg, the senior officer at the Sherman family holding company, also told police he thought Desai should be let go. However, Desai had Barry Sherman’s backing and he stayed.

Desai, in his interview with homicide Det.-Sgt. Brandon Price, said Barry was his “greatest mentor and supporter” and he was not surprised he had to leave after Barry’s death as he had lost Barry’s “protection.” Desai, in an earlier interview with the Star, denied the Teva allegations.

The newly released documents reveal that Honey’s sister Mary Shechtman told police Honey had been attending meetings “to stop Muslims and retribution.” Shechtman recounted to a detective how the Shermans were strong supporters of Israel and “Honey was very vocal about being Jewish.” Shechtman said that six months before the murders, Honey had gone to a lecture “about stopping money from getting into Muslim fundamentalists’ hands.” In Shechtman’s statement to police, she said Honey’s belief was that “if the money were to be cut off from them they could bankrupt them and therefore the money could not be used for terror.” Shechtman told police she believed “Barry was providing funding for this.”

There is nothing else in the roughly 2,000 pages that have been released so far (with partial redactions) that indicates police found anything to show they investigated a religious motive.

The documents also show police combed through Barry’s emails at work — at least those that a legal agreement to protect privileged documents allowed them to see. Most of that section of the police files remain sealed from the public eye. One unsealed document relates to Barry having been told in the fall of 2017 that he was to receive the Order of Canada. Barry had filled out the form and sent it back to Ottawa, the documents show.

The award was never handed out. Sherman daughter Alexandra told her three siblings (Jonathon, Lauren and Kaelen) in an email in the spring of 2019 that she was hopeful a date could be arranged with Ottawa officials and “hopefully we can all travel to Ottawa and receive the Order on behalf of dad, together.” To date, that has not happened. Since that time, a rift has developed between the Sherman children, according to Jonathon, who previously told the Star Alexandra believes he has something to do with the death of their parents. Jonathon, in an interview with the Star, dismissed that suggestion, saying “I am the only person who knows I was not involved.”

Judge rules Barry and Honey Sherman murder case too sensitive to release more case documents

April 27, 2022

An Ontario court justice has lauded the Toronto Star for its ongoing efforts to hold police accountable in the unsolved Barry and Honey Sherman murder case but for now has closed the door to releasing more information from the homicide probe.

Justice Leslie Pringle said she is concerned that releasing additional police witness statements and theories of the case from search warrant documents would impact “the integrity of the ongoing police investigation.” In a ruling on the case, which was back in court Wednesday, Pringle said she is also concerned that to release more information would “prejudice the interests of innocent persons.” Pringle did not identify those individuals.

Previously, Pringle has allowed large swaths of information to be released, which has fuelled an ongoing investigative series in the Star that has revealed numerous problems with how the high-profile murders have been investigated. While refusing to release more, she acknowledged that considerable time has passed since the murders.

“While old, this case is unfortunately still in the investigative phase,” Pringle said in her ruling. “Charges have not been laid, and it is necessary and in the public interest for the police to continue their investigation if the perpetrators are to be brought to justice.”

Billionaire pharmaceutical titan Barry Sherman, founder of Apotex, and his wife Honey were murdered in their Toronto home on the evening of Dec. 13, 2017. Toronto police originally pursued a murder-suicide theory, but announced it was a double homicide six weeks later after the Star revealed the results of a second set of autopsies arranged by the Sherman family. Toronto homicide detectives had been invited to attend these post mortems, but declined the offer from the Sherman private detective team.

Pringle noted the Star “has continued to hold the police to account” in the case through cross-examination of the lone full-time detective on the case, publishing stories and bringing details of the Sherman investigation to “the public’s attention.”

“This is appropriate and important,” Pringle said of the Star’s continued efforts to scrutinize the case. “If the police have fallen short or made mistakes, freedom of expression requires that the media be free to criticize and second-guess their investigation.”

The Star told court Wednesday it is considering seeking a judicial review of Pringle’s decision to maintain sealing orders on the remaining documents. That would take place at the Superior Court of Justice, the court level above the Ontario Court of Justice.

Pringle is the judge who police have gone to approve a series of search warrants and production orders they required to obtain information for the probe — banking records, cellular phone data and other information. As is routinely done with warrants, Pringle approved the police request to seal the documents.

Details of the protracted Sherman investigation are contained within the more than 3,000 pages of search warrant and production order documents. Starting in March 2018, the Star has been arguing in court, in hearings every six months, for Pringle to unseal portions of the documents.

In her ruling, Pringle noted the Star’s applications “have been very successful,” in leading to a large release in late 2020, and a second large release a few months ago. She said the Star has continued “to hold the police to account” throughout the process.

In its arguments for more unsealing, the Star has made reference to Supreme Court judgments over the last 40 years which held that sealing orders are typically made so that the target of a warrant does not know it is about to be served. But courts have said that once served on the target, the need for secrecy all but evaporates.

Despite this, lower courts (warrants are typically signed by lower court judges) often maintain sealing orders and it is up to the media to fight for release of documents as a way of scrutinizing police activity and the investigation itself.

In recent months, Pringle has ordered the release of case details that showed Barry owed $1 billion leading up to his death and saying he was not going to pay; the estate of the Shermans is somehow part of the murder investigation; and a four-year attempt by police to determine the identity of the “walking man” killer and whether he was in contact with someone the night of the murders failed. Police did not ask for the public’s help in identifying the walking man during this four-year period, only seeking public help last December.

Among other information released through this court process: detailed descriptions of how the Sherman bodies were discovered; point-form notes of interviews with Sherman children and other family; notes of most but not all Sherman friends and associates canvassed by police; and a partial explanation of why it took six weeks for police to determine it was a double homicide — the first pathologist on the case was unable to make that determination.

A Star reporter has argued in court that there is no danger to the investigation if more of the files are released. The Star has pointed to numerous pieces of information released through the process that, once released, caused no harm to the probe (according to police). Some are inner business dealings of Apotex, some are the statements of the four Sherman children, and some are, the Star argued, obviously trivial (a police photo of Barry’s messy office in one case, and a photo of Barry with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in another instance).

Detective Constable Dennis Yim, the lone full-time Toronto homicide officer on the case, has repeatedly told Pringle during the Star’s cross-examination that something that might seem meaningless at one point in the probe could take on deeper meaning at another point. That’s why, he says, he errs on the side of asking for information to remain sealed.

Justice Pringle agreed with the Star that there was “merit” to the Star’s arguments earlier this year that police have been overly cautious in trying to keep so much of the file sealed. As an example, she noted how she has now approved the release of comments by family members saying Barry was “complicated and brilliant but lacking in emotional and social intelligence” and Honey was a “strong personality, loud, outgoing and loving.” The Star had argued that to keep that sealed was “nonsensical.”

In its arguments, the Star has identified numerous categories that, it argued, should also be unsealed. They include: additional images of the walking man captured by security cameras in the vicinity of the Sherman home the night of the murders (police say this would reveal the man’s “direction of travel”); security camera photos of Barry and Honey arriving and leaving Apotex after a meeting and them arriving home the night they were murdered (police say this would reveal if someone was following them); specific details of what areas police canvassed following the murders — the Star has found places, including a synagogue down the street from the Sherman home that was not canvassed for video; a detailed timeline police have created of the walking man and the movements of the Shermans the day they died; the still-redacted statements of Sherman family members and others who were pointing fingers at several individuals they believed were involved in the murders; and the reason the estate documents related to Barry and Honey are apparently key to the case.

Paragraphs describing the Sherman estate documents, which reveal that the four Sherman children were the lone beneficiaries, have been released but the court will not say where they are in the documents or for what reason.

The Star has also argued that the court has wrongly maintained a seal on statements or partial statements of three individuals who have themselves said publicly that they have likely been considered as “persons of interest” in the case — all three say they had nothing to do with the murders. A Star reporter referred to this as the “elephant in the room” and argued that to maintain the seal on the statements is unfair to these individuals because it could make them appear as suspects when they are not.

Further Reading

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


RTalloni on December 29, 2017:

How sad. Hopefully the family will have the answers they seek before long.

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