The decomposed body of a girl, 8, was found in the bushes in Mkuze, north of KwaZulu-Natal, police said on Friday.
Earlier this month, police had sent out a request to community members in the area to help find little Yoliswa Sibiya, who was reported missing after being last seen playing with other children at her home on March 3.
On Thursday, police in KwaZulu-Natal made a breakthrough when a suspect in another case pointed them to the decomposed body believed to be that of Sibiya's. The man, 31, was arrested in connection with the girl's murder.
KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane said the suspect had initially been arrested in connection with another assault within the Mkuze area.
"It is alleged that the suspect was assaulting a 10-year-old girl in the area yesterday [Thursday]," said Zwane.
"Community members heard the child crying and went to investigate in the bushes."
Zwane says the suspect ran away when he realised he had drawn the attention of community members.
"The child told the community members what had happened to her and the suspect was later apprehended and handed over to police," he explained.
Police, according to Zwane, questioned the suspect about Sibiya's disappearance and it was at the point that he took them to the bushes.
"He took police to where he allegedly killed her and dumped her body," added Zwane. The suspect was arrested and charged with murder.
He will appear in the Ubombo Magistrate's Court soon, police said.