A Canadian billionaire and his wife who were found dead in their home were murdered, police said Friday, ending several weeks of speculation about the wealthy couple.
Det. Sgt. Susan Gomes said the deaths of Barry and Honey Sherman were a double homicide.
"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.
"We have sufficient evidence to describe this as a double homicide investigation and that both Honey and Barry Sherman were in fact targeted."
Gomes declined to discuss possible suspects.
The 75-year-old founder of the generic drug maker Apotex and his philanthropic wife, who was 70, were found dead in their mansion north of Toronto on Dec. 15.
At the time police said the deaths were suspicious, but there were no signs of forced entry and officials said they were not looking for suspects.
In the days that followed, prominent media outlets quoted unidentified police officials who speculated the death appeared to be a murder-suicide. The theory was never confirmed publicly by authorities.
Gomes said the two were found hanging by belts from a railing that surrounds their indoor pool. She said they were in a semi-seated position on the pool deck.
Earlier this week, the Toronto Star reported new evidence from a private family investigation that included a second autopsy conflicted with the murder-suicide theory.
According to the newspaper, both Shermans died by “ligature neck compressions.” The new autopsy reportedly determined that men’s leather belts were used to strangle the couple.
The couple were found seated at the side of the pool at their house. They were facing away from the pool, according to the Toronto Star. The remaining end of each belt tied around their necks was then looped around “a low railing that surrounds the pool,” in order to hold the couple in place, according to the paper.
In a statement, the family said they anticipated the police department's announcement.
“This conclusion was expressed by the family from the outset and is consistent with the findings of the independent autopsy and investigation," the statement said. “The family continues to support the Toronto Police Service in their efforts to seek justice for their parents and pursue those responsible for these unspeakable crimes.”
Police have released the home back to the family.
"For them it's been difficult to balance their patience with their frustration with us and our investigation — not unlike any other family who have suffered such a sudden and profound loss," Gomes said. "They have been understanding, cooperative and hopeful that this investigation can give them some answers."
Canadian Business magazine recently estimated Barry Sherman's worth at 4.77 billion Canadian dollars ($3.65 billion), making him the 15th richest person in the country.
Also on Friday, Apotex Inc.'s CEO and president Jeremy Desai resigned from the company, effective immediately, Fox Business reported.
A spokesman for the company declined to provide details on Desai's departure other than to note he left "to pursue other opportunities" and that the company thanks him for his contributions.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.