The body of Skylar Dials was discovered about 2 a.m. Saturday off Yarbrough Mill Road in Spalding County after a widespread land and air search that included neighbors, search dogs and multiple law enforcement agencies.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Shane Clifton Collett of Griffin was arrested later in the day. He is charged with murder, kidnapping and concealing a death.
Spalding County Sheriff Wendell Beam did not say what led authorities to Collett. His residence is near where the girl lived with her aunt.
Authorities told WSB-TV that the girl was known to walk through the woods where she was found. They said she was on the way to visit friends Friday morning, though her body was found in the opposite direction of her presumed destination.
The sheriff did not say when authorities believe the girl died, how she was killed or who found the body.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is assisting in the probe.
"She was more or less behind a large debris pile from a logging operation that went on out here at some point," GBI Special Agent Wayne Smith told the news station. Smith said there was no debris on the girl's body.
A neighbor, Sonia Moore, called Skylar and her family "very nice folks" who came to Yabrough Mill Road after a tornado displaced them from their Hampton home earlier this year. "They were just so happy to be out here, and we were happy to have them," Moore told the Journal-Constitution.
Skylar's mother, who lives in Atlanta, was taken from the scene in an ambulance after she learned of her daughter's fate.
Beam's office is encouraging anyone with information to call 770-467-4282.