From the killings of a top CEO and his wife to the mysterious plane bombing that took 52 lives, these are some of the most infamous Canadian crimes that remain unsolved.
Barry and Honey Sherman
On 15th December 2017, a real estate agent was showing prospective buyers around a luxurious, $7 million mansion in Toronto. Stepping down to the basement to show off the underground swimming pool, the agent spotted what she initially assumed was a macabre practical joke: two very lifelike mannequins lying on the floor, belts wrapped tightly around their necks.
Closer inspection revealed that they were actually the corpses of the property owners: billionaire pharmaceutical magnate Barry Sherman and his wife, Honey. Despite the very high-profile nature of the case and a $35 million reward offered by the couple’s son, police still have no idea who murdered two of the country’s richest and most influential people in their own home.
Barry Sherman’s fiercely combative personality and aggressive business practices meant that he’d amassed plenty of enemies in the corporate world. He’d also been embroiled in bitter financial disputes with extended members of his family. All of this has fuelled numerous theories about who could have been behind the killings, but the mystery may never be solved.
With its meandering boardwalk, Victorian architecture and maritime atmosphere, Charlottetown is a popular vacation destination on Canada’s Prince Edward Island. But it is also the setting of a dark mystery stretching back to November 1988, when local teacher Byron Carr was found dead in his bedroom. He had been stabbed and strangled.
Carr, a gay man who was known to have frequented cruising spots in Charlottetown, was last seen by a witness speaking to a man on a bicycle in the early hours of the morning. The prevailing police theory is that Carr invited the cyclist back to his home for a sexual encounter, only to be viciously killed by his guest.
Police also have reason to believe the killer returned a short while later with an accomplice, perhaps to remove evidence. One of them scrawled the words, ‘I will kill again’ on the bedroom wall. The words were written in a distinctive style, with large, rounded letters and the 'i’s' dotted with circles.
Despite the unique handwriting and the discovery of the killer’s DNA at the scene, detectives were never able to bring the culprit and his accomplice to justice. The only small consolation is that the threat on the wall was not, as far as we know, carried out.
Kerrie Ann Brown
‘This case has loomed over Thompson this entire time. I see people every time I go that want to talk about Kerrie.’ These were the words of Trevor Brown, speaking in 2022 about the rape and murder of his sister, Kerrie Ann Brown, which took place in Thompson, Manitoba in October 1986.
Kerrie was just 15 years old when she vanished after attending a house party with a group of teenage friends. She had planned to walk home with a friend, but when the latter took her time emerging from the house, Kerrie made the fateful decision to go on alone.
Her naked body was found in some woods a few days later. The case initially seemed like it would be closed relatively quickly, with a local man named Patrick Sumner charged with her murder. However, a lack of evidence meant he was soon discharged without a trial. The identity of Kerrie’s killer remains a painful enigma for her family and the people of Thompson.
Dana Bradley was just 14 years old when she vanished in St. John’s, Newfoundland, in December 1981. Having gone back to a friend’s house after school, she initially intended to catch the bus home, but witnesses reported seeing her sticking out her thumb to hitchhike a ride. This was the last time she was seen alive.
Dana’s body was found four days later – she had been sexually assaulted, beaten to death, and then carefully laid out with her schoolbooks tucked under her arm. The grim discovery triggered one of the largest murder investigations ever seen in Canada, with police carrying out hundreds of interviews and examining countless cars in a bid to find the man who’d picked Dana up.
An apparent breakthrough came in 1986 when a tip-off led police to a suspect named David Grant Somerton, who then confessed to the killing. However, he later retracted the story and served a few years for the false confession.
Another more significant milestone came in 2016 when police announced they had uncovered DNA material belonging to the killer. It is hoped that someday this evidence will finally bring closure to the case that has haunted Newfoundland for decades.
Canadian Pacific Air Lines Flight 21
The case of Canadian Pacific Air Lines Flight 21 is both a deadly atrocity and an Agatha Christie-like whodunit. The plane was flying from Vancouver to Prince George in July 1965 when a bomb exploded in the rear lavatory, ripping the tail clean off. Some of the 52 passengers were sucked out of their seats to their deaths, while the rest died when the plane slammed into a wooded area. There were no survivors.
Who was responsible for this carnage? Investigators have narrowed the field of suspects to four passengers: a gambler who’d taken out a life insurance policy literally moments before boarding, a mining explosives expert with a criminal record, a young ‘loner’ with a known interest in weaponry, and a mentally troubled man described by a psychiatrist as being capable of ‘violent, irrational acts’.
In all likelihood, one of these men committed the terrible mass-murder-suicide on board Canadian Pacific Air Lines Flight 21. The chances are, we’ll never know which of them it was.