The recently promoted Toronto police officer leading the Barry and Honey Sherman murder investigation is also now running the force’s citywide operations centre, police have confirmed.
Whether this is a sign that the investigation is wrapping up or at a standstill, is not explained in any of the public information the Star has been able to obtain regarding the case. Toronto police maintain the Sherman probe is “active” — but its lead investigator is now wearing a senior officer’s uniform and no longer working in homicide.
Susan Gomes has been the homicide investigator in charge of the Sherman case since the couple was found dead one year ago this month, and she was the one who took the microphone at police headquarters on Jan. 26 to announce their deaths were being investigated as a “targeted” double homicide.
For the six weeks previous, detectives had been exploring the possibility that the billionaire founder of drugmaker Apotex killed his wife, then took his own life. That changed after the family’s pathologist concluded it was a double murder and police detectives reviewed and agreed with the pathologist’s findings. The pathologist who did the police-led autopsy had missed key clues, the Star has reported.
Now, a year into the probe and in a move that is sure to raise eyebrows in policing and community circles, Gomes has been tapped by Chief Mark Saunders to take over command of the Toronto Police Operations Centre. Gomes was recently promoted from detective sergeant to inspector and will now be in uniform. Homicide detectives are plain clothes, non-uniform officers.
A Toronto police spokesperson said it is not unusual for an officer, once moved to another job, to stay involved with a case. However, the Star is unaware of another example where a detective on a major, high-profile case (which the force says is being actively investigated) remains in charge of an investigation while doing a completely different job.
The police operations centre Gomes now commands “is a real-time, centralized hub whose primary functions are to continually monitor, assess, prioritize, co-ordinate and respond to the operational policing needs of the City of Toronto,” said a briefing note provided to the Star by police.
Police spokesperson Meaghan Gray would not say how many officers work in the unit Gomes is commanding, but described it as providing a “30,000-foot overview of everything that’s going on in the city.” That means if resources are needed to deal with a major incident — such as a flood, an outbreak of crime or a power outage — Gomes would order the deployment of officers.
The unit does not handle investigations, but is located at police headquarters along with the homicide unit, so Gomes “will be in close proximity to homicide,” Gray said.
Another recent promotion related to the Sherman case was Det. Brandon Price who, like Gomes, has been involved since the day the bodies were discovered. Price is now a detective sergeant, but will remain in homicide and work on the Sherman file, along with other cases. He is expected to eventually “transition” into the role of lead investigator on the Sherman case, a police official said.
Price was the officer who told reporters outside the Sherman home the night the bodies were discovered that police were “not currently seeking or looking for an outstanding suspect.” That comment, later echoed by police sources to several media outlets, led to stories that revealed police were probing a murder-suicide theory.
The Shermans were last seen alive on Dec. 13, 2017.
Two days later, a real estate agent showing a couple and another agent through the Sherman home discovered their bodies in their basement pool room. Autopsies revealed they died of ligature neck compression.
The Sherman family recently held a news conference to offer a $10-million reward in the case. At the conference, family lawyer Brian Greenspan criticized the Toronto police investigation.
Meanwhile, veteran Apotex employees are reeling from the decision last week by the Shermans’ son, Jonathon, to tell his father’s partner of 35 years, Jack Kay, to leave the company that Kay and Barry Sherman built. Sources within Apotex say they were surprised that Kay, 78, was treated that way and was not even given a farewell party. In a brief statement, Apotex spokesperson Jordan Berman said, “All of us at Apotex wish Jack the best of luck in his future pursuits.”
The Apotex company is now controlled and owned by Jonathon and his three sisters.
The Star has asked Jonathon Sherman questions about Kay’s dismissal, but he has not responded. Kay could not be reached for comment.
Kevin Donovan can be reached at (416) 312-3503 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him @_kevindonovan