The 22-year-old was working with a private military contracting company when he was killed on Monday. Cancel’s mother, Rebecca Cabrera, told CNN that the company sent him to Ukraine, and he was paid while he was fighting there.
Canceled, a former US Marine, according to his mother, signed up to work for a private military contracting company in addition to his full-time job as a corrections officer in Tennessee shortly before the outbreak of war in Ukraine at the end of February, Cabrera said. Cabrera said that when the war began, the company, according to Cabrera, was looking for contractors to fight in Ukraine and Cancel agreed to leave.
“He wanted to go because he believed in what Ukraine was fighting for, and he wanted to be a part of it to contain it there, so he didn’t come here, and maybe our American soldiers wouldn’t have to be involved in that,” Cabrera told CNN in a phone interview.
Cabrera said Cancel traveled to Poland on March 12 and crossed to Ukraine sometime on March 12 and 13.
Cabrera said the group of men Kancel was fighting alongside were from “all countries”.
Those who informed her of her son’s death told her that his body had not been found.
“They didn’t find his body,” she said. “They’re trying, the guys who were with him, but they either take his body or get killed, but we’d love for him to come back.”
A US State Department official said they are “aware of these reports and are closely monitoring the situation.”
“Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment,” the official added. “We once again reiterate that US citizens should not travel to Ukraine due to the active armed conflict and the singling out of Russian government security officials of US citizens in Ukraine, and that US citizens in Ukraine should leave immediately if it is safe to do so, using any commercial or other transportation options Ground transportation options available to the private sector.
Cabrera said Cancellation leaves behind a 7-month-old baby and a wife. Cancel had been living in Tennessee before he left for Ukraine, and is originally from Orange County, New York, said Devin Titz Jr., Cancel’s brother-in-law.
Cabrera said canceling “always puts everyone before itself”.
“He was just a really thoughtful person,” Cabrera said of her son. “He always put everyone first even when situations were very tense.” “He always kept everyone laughing and calming down. He was the guy who stood up when everyone else stood up.”
Titz said Cancellation was “the kind that fights for what’s right regardless of the outcome,” when asked why he decided to scrap joining the fighting in Ukraine.
“He honestly believed that this should not happen, and he wanted to go help the people of Ukraine,” Tetzee said in a phone interview.
Cabrera said canceling “wanted” to do the work of the military contract.
“It was something he believed in in his heart, it was the right thing. He was the kind of guy who always got ahead when others got back, and there were a lot of guys who were that way with him,” Cabrera said.
Earlier on Thursday, the British government confirmed the killing of a British citizen in Ukraine and said officials were “urgently seeking more information” about another missing person, a British Foreign Office spokesperson told CNN.
“We can confirm that a British citizen was killed in Ukraine while they were supporting his family,” they said.
CNN’s Kylie Atwood contributed to this report.