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Police upgrade murder charge for husband accused of killing wife

James Schwalm is now facing a first-degree murder charge
A cropped photo from Twitter shows James Schwalm being promoted to the rank of captain with Brampton Fire and Emergency Services.

Police announced today they have upgraded the charge against Collingwood resident James Schwalm to first-degree murder in the death of his wife.

Schwalm, 38, now faces charges for first-degree murder and indignity to a dead body related to the death of his wife Ashley Schwalm, 40, whose body was discovered in a fiery car crash on Jan. 26 just before 6 a.m. According to police, the crash occurred off Arrowhead Road. A grey Mitsubishi Outlander sport utility vehicle careened down an embankment and caught fire after landing. 

Police initially charged Schwalm with second-degree murder. He was formerly a fire captain with the Brampton Fire and Emergency Services, ​but he has been fired. 

James Schwalm was in bail court today where the charges were updated. He remains in custody, but the charges have not been proven in court. 

The investigation is ongoing, with the Collingwood OPP crime unit getting support from the Office of the Fire Marshal, Ontario Forensic Pathology Services, the Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario, OPP Forensic Identification Services, OPP Regional Support Team, OPP Technical Collision Investigators and Reconstructionists, and the OPP Emergency Response Team (ERT).

Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Collingwood OPP at 705-445-4321 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or