SPALDING COUNTY, Ga. - A man has been arrested in connection with the death of a 9-year-old Griffin girl.
According to a Spalding County Sheriff's Office release, Shane Clifton Collett, 40, of 678 Yarbrough Mill Road in Griffin, was arrested for the death of Skylar Dials. He has been charged with murder, kidnapping and concealing a death.
The girl's body was discovered in woods near Yarbrough Mill Road in Spalding County early Saturday, hours after her family reported her missing.
Spalding County authorities said Skylar was heading to a friend's house at about 11 a.m. Friday. But her family called 911 five hours later and said she had not arrived at the friend's home, which is about 30 yards away from where she was found.
"It is common for her to walk the location to that house and play with the kids over there," Spalding County Sheriff Wendell Beam told Channel 2's Amanda Cook.
Georgia State Patrol troopers assisted with an intense ground and air search that started at 4 p.m. Friday and ended at 2 a.m. Saturday.
"We just hate that it came to this tragedy," said Beam.
Skylar, an Orrs Elementary School student, was living with her aunt, who authorities also identified as the child's foster parent. Her mother, who lives in Atlanta, was taken away from the scene in an ambulance after her daughter’s body was found.
Sonia Moore, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1998, said the family moved to the area from Hampton earlier this year after being displaced by a tornado.
“They are very nice folks,” Moore told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Saturday. “They were just so happy to be out here, and we were happy to have them.”
Moore said Skylar’s family threw a barbecue in the summer and invited families in the small neighborhood to drop in for a meet-and-greet. She said she occasionally saw Skylar playing.
“It’s just such a shock,” Moore said. “We have a lot of good neighbors. I think every one around is just kind of in shock.”
A coroner will perform an autopsy on Skylar Saturday afternoon to determine her cause of death.
"Our hearts go out to the family and we are going to do everything we can. We're going to continue to work on this until we find out what happened," said Beam.
Collett, meanwhile, is being held at the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center without bond.
The GBI is assisting with the investigation.
Check back for updates on this developing story.