Boxing champion Sugar Ray Leonard last night helped D.C. police find an 18-month-old girl who disappeared yesterday from her home in southeast Washington, police said.

The girl, Alicia Washington, was reported missing by her mother, who said the child had been playing in front of her home at 3250 T St. SE. when she disappeared after 1 p.m.

Capt. Michael Pickett said a man being questioned about the girl declined to speak to one detective, who he said reminded him of boxer Marvin Hagler. Instead, police said, the man said he wanted to speak to Leonard, the suburban Maryland resident who defeated Hagler in a recent championship bout.

Police said reporter Mike Buchanan of Channel 9 (WUSA) helped them contact Leonard, and Leonard talked to the man.

They said the girl was found afterward in a wooded area near Pennsylvania and Branch avenues SE.

According to police, the girl had been tethered to a tree. She was taken to the Greater Southeast Community Hospital, where she was treated last night was released.

The girl's mother was not identified immediately.

Police said their investigation continued into the early hours of this morning.

They said they arrested Tony Hale Spaulding, 27, of 3250 T Street SE, and charged him with kidnaping.