(NewsNation) —  A former U.S. Marine working for a military contracting company has reportedly been killed in fighting in Ukraine.

Rebecca Cabrera told CNN her son, 22-year-old Willy Joseph Cancel, was killed Monday while working for a military contracting company that sent him to Ukraine.

Cabrera said her son was working as a corrections officer in Tennessee and had signed up to work with the private military contractor shortly before the fighting began in Ukraine in late February. She told CNN he agreed to go to Ukraine.

“He wanted to go over because he believed in what Ukraine was fighting for, and he wanted to be a part of it to contain it there so it didn’t come here, and that maybe our American soldiers wouldn’t have to be involved in it,” she said.

Cabrera said her son’s body has not been found.

“They haven’t found his body,” she said. “They are trying, the men that were with him, but it was either grab his body or get killed, but we would love for him to come back to us.”

Cabrera said her son flew to Poland in mid-March and made his way into Ukraine a day later.

In a phone interview, Cabrera told reporters her son believed in what Ukrainians are fighting for and was hoping to help contain the fight.

Cancel’s widow, Brittany Cancel, told Fox News he leaves behind a young son and that she sees her husband as a hero.

“My husband did die in Ukraine,” Brittany Cancel said. “He went there wanting to help people, he had always felt that that was his main mission in life.”

Reports also claim that Cancel was among a group of men from various countries all fighting as a unit.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.