Clayton said Tracy Bernard Mclemore, 44, was arrested at his Hamilton Road home in LaGrange.
Mclemore has been listed on the Georgia Sex Offender Registry since 2009 for a 2005 incident in Alabama.
Clayton said the girl was not hurt. He said police aren’t sure how or where the two met or how she got to LaGrange.
Police knew to look for the girl in LaGrange because of “some information we gained at her house when she left, citizens’ input and a whole lot of really good police work,” Clayton said.
She had been missing since 8 a.m. Wednesday when she left 5 Pineway Drive to go to school.
A Troup County Jail official said Mclemore was booked there Thursday and is being held for another agency.