the ponyboy chronicles

Howell is alive; mystery woman may be former wife
May 28, 2002 Posted: 8:40 AM EDT (1840 GMT)

MUMBAI, INDIA (LBOZ) -- An amnesiac man discovered in the Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay) has been positively identified as missing actor C. Thomas Howell.

In an unexpected twist of fate, a woman found unconscious on the back of a truck delivering chickens to a local marketplace may be Howell's ex-wife, actress Rae Dawn Chong, also previously thought to be dead.

"Given the recent events of Tom's life, this situation seems far less surprising than it actually is," said actor Ralph Macchio, who starred with Howell in the 1983 box office hit "The Outsiders." "My prayers are with them both in the hope that they will return safely to the United States."

Investigators and military officials are at a loss to explain the sudden reappearance of Howell and Chong, who were married from 1989 through 1992 and remained close after their divorce. Both were thought to have been recently assassinated.

"We are questioning three men who were present on the back of the truck where Rae Dawn Chong was found," said a police official. It is unclear whether these three men are the same three men seen in the different Mumbai marketplace where Howell was found last week, nor the three men earlier seen in the U.S.-controlled Midway Islands where Howell was initially noticed to be missing.

"If it is Rae Rae, my heart is soaring," said comedian Tommy Chong, father of the missing actress who was formerly thought to be dead after a guerrilla parade attack in Dalian, China, where she had arrived to be with her former husband, then recuperating from a dramatic rescue from the crash of Flight 6136 into Dalian Bay.

Howell's identity was confirmed through dental records and a blood test to prevent confusion similar to the sighting of a look-alike killed in a recent British rail disaster. Similar tests will be run on the mystery woman.

The marriage between Howell and Chong produced a daughter, Sylvie, who is currently being cared for by her godfather, actor James Garner, who starred with Howell in the 1984 film "Tank."

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