Is Edgar Anderson Based on an Actual Missing Boy?

In Netflix’s crime drama series ‘Eric,’ Edgar Anderson is a nine-year-old boy who disappears from New York on his way to school. The disappearance shakes his parents, Vincent Anderson and Cassie Anderson, who try to find their son on their own. Edgar vanishes within a year after the disappearance of Marlon Rochelle, only for the lead detective, Michael Ledroit, to consider the possibility of a serial abductor targeting the streets of New York City. Edgar is a character conceived by the series creator Abi Morgan without any particular inspiration from real life. However, it doesn’t mean that reality has nothing to do with the missing boy’s storyline!

The Reality Behind Edgar Anderson

Abi Morgan created Edgar Anderson without basing the character on a particular missing boy. However, when she was growing up, Morgan was highly disturbed by real-life stories of disappearances. “I remember that being haunting, as a child who really enjoyed her freedom,” the screenwriter told Esquire. When she became a parent of children like Edgar, she could see the character in them. “I think, statistically, no more children disappear now than did 30 or 40 years ago, but it’s parental anxiety versus knowledge,” Morgan added. As a mother of a twenty and twenty-two-year-old, she constantly worries about her children’s safety.

Edgar was born from this fear. In the nine-year-old boy, whose tenth birthday is not long ahead, Morgan seemingly was able to see a representative of not only her kids but also children who eagerly await a sense of security, much like Edgar. “Vincent says: ‘I want to believe in a world where my kid can walk to school and come home safe at the end of the day.’ That, to me, is a cry for any parent. We want to believe our kids will be OK. But we also want the illusion of control because at least if it’s your fault, you can work out how to not make it go wrong again,” the screenwriter told The Guardian.

Morgan examines how unsafe the world is by conceiving Edgar’s disappearance from only a few blocks away from his house. In reality, there are several missing children who vanished not far away from their homes. One of the most tragic cases concerns Etan Patz, a six-year-old boy who also lived and disappeared from New York City like Edgar. The chilling similarity between the two boys is that Etan also vanished on his way to school. His disappearance shook the country in the 1980s, especially after he was featured on milk cartons to spread awareness regarding his fate. The anniversary of Etan’s disappearance—May 25—is commemorated as the National Missing Children’s Day.

Morgan was haunted by the stories of missing children who were profiled on milk cartons, like Etan. “While I was out there [New York City], I saw the milk carton kids and the missing persons. So that has always been very haunting,” the screenwriter told Radio Times. Etan is yet to be found, just like Cherrie Mahan, who disappeared at the age of eight in Winfield Township in Butler County, Pennsylvania. Like Edgar, Cherrie’s disappearance is also connected to her school. On February 22, 1985, she was seen getting out of her school van to return home. The bus stop was fifty feet from the base of the driveway to her house. Cherrie’s disappearance remains unsolved to this day.

Cherrie was featured in postcards distributed throughout the country with a headline that reads, “Have You Seen Me?” Her disappearance makes it clear that fifty feet is a long enough distance for a child to vanish without any traces. Through Edgar, Morgan shows us how these children deserve a better world, especially one that will allow them to step in and step out of schools without the worry of dangers lurking. Therefore, Edgar can be seen as a representative of children who went missing in the 1980s.

Read More: Where is Netflix’s Eric Filmed? Exploring All the Locations