A lawyer for the children of Barry and Honey Sherman has accused Toronto police of misleading the public with its initial statements about the late couple’s deaths.

Brian Greenspan says 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. Police had indicated in the beginning that there were no signs of forced entry at home where the Shermans were found dead on Dec. 15, and that investigators were not looking for suspects in connection with the case.

Greenspan made the comments during an interview with the Globe and Mail.

The couple’s deaths remain an open case and are considered “suspicious,” with homicide investigators still combing over their home for clues. The official cause of death was announced as “ligature neck compression.”

Citing police sources, multiple media outlets reported that police were investigating the deaths as a murder-suicide in the early days of the investigation.

The Sherman family has rejected the murder-suicide theory and hired former TPS investigator Tom Klatt to conduct a private investigation into the case.

Steve Ryan, another former TPS homicide detective and ex-colleague of Klatt’s, says police are trying to do a thorough job in the case and are simply trying to get all the facts.

“There must have been compelling evidence in that home for them to make that announcement,” Ryan said of the early statements in the case, during an interview with CP24 on Tuesday. “There’s no other reason to do it.”

He acknowledged that the Sherman family is angry about leaks from the police investigation, but said that’s inevitable. “You can never stop leaks,” said Ryan, who spent two decades in the sex crimes unit and 15 years working homicide with the TPS.

Parallel investigation

Ryan says he doesn’t know the Sherman family’s motive for hiring a private investigator, but says he only saw two families take that path during his own 15-year homicide career.

“They did that because they weren’t happy with the conclusions that I came to,” Ryan said of the cases. “So they hired a private investigator to review my findings to see if they could come to a different conclusion, and they didn’t at the end of the day.”

Former FBI agent Brian Garrett, who has worked as both a homicide detective and a private investigator, says a parallel investigation probably won’t have a negative impact on the outcome of the case.

“Obviously, the key is to find the truth,” Garrett told CTV News Channel on Tuesday, adding that he’s never seen a “damaging situation” involving a parallel investigation.

He said parallel investigations usually only run into problems when the PI doesn’t share information with police, although that doesn’t mean the two sides “have to talk every day.”

Rather, Garrett suggests that in a best-case scenario, the PI would eventually pass along his findings to police anyway.

“(A private investigator) potentially might have more success,” Garrett said, citing freedom from regulations and public pressure as two advantages of a PI. “They might have a better chance of getting some people to talk,” he said.