Jessica Blake, 14, went missing from her home in Nolloth Crescent on Saturday and was found dead in woods near Chester Avenue the next day.
The disappearance of the Beverley High School pupil, who was last seen on her pink bicycle, sparked a massive air and land search supported by members of the public.
In a statement, her father Dave said: “There are too many people to thank for all their help and support, but I will try anyway, by attempting the impossible and putting into mere words just what kind of girl they were all looking for.
“Jess was no angel, but nor was she a bad kid. She was cheeky and mischievous, loving and kind.
“She was the kind of girl who got on with anyone; she never judged and just took people as she found them.
“She filled our lives with fun and laughter, loved us and hugged us, played with us and fought with us, often all at the same time.
“She was clever and confident, funny and witty, and I can still hear her laughing.”
He added: “The Jess who left home on Saturday lunchtime was laughing and hugging me just before she left.
“We had a tickle fight on the stairs, a fight she always lost and which always left me with a bruise or two. She told me she loved me for the last time there, as I helped her up, both of us laughing.
“This was the girl all those kind, caring and selfless people were looking for – our daughter Jess, my special girl, her big sister’s ‘little sissy’, someone her little brother could look up to and her mother’s baby girl. Our Jess.”
Jess was a lance corporal in Beverley Town Army Cadets, a role she “lived and breathed”, her father said.
A candlelit vigil for her was held in Beverley Minster on Sunday.
East Riding Safeguarding Children Board is investigating the death amid concerns she may have been bullied.