Marcellus Johnson, was to have been dropped off at his home in Little Rock around 3 p.m. Monday, but van driver Rancocas Foreman skipped the boy's stop, went home and parked and locked the van before leaving for his second job, authorities said.
Marcellus' parents called police after 8 p.m., and around the same time Foreman remembered the boy, went home to check the van and found Marcellus' body, police spokesman Sgt. Terry Hastings said.
While officers were investigating at the Child Care Center of Arkansas, Foreman arrived and told police "he knows where the child is and the child is not OK," Hastings said.
Foreman, 22, of Little Rock, was charged with manslaughter because he could have easily seen the boy in the van, Hastings said. The temperature reached 94 degrees Monday afternoon in Little Rock.
"The child was clearly visible from the driver's seat," with his legs dangling in the aisle, Hastings said.
Marcellus was to have been dropped off first on Foreman's route, but Foreman had trouble making a left turn from a busy street and went on to his next stop and did not return, Hastings said.
Foreman was freed on $10,000 bail. He didn't have a listed phone number, and there was no answer Tuesday morning at a phone number for the day-care center.
Hastings said he had no explanation for why there was about a five-hour gap between the time the boy was to have been dropped off and the time that police were called.