August 3, 1997 in Nation/World

Cunanan Had Good Childhood, Father Says

Associated Press

Andrew Cunanan had a peaceful childhood and his goal was to “be somebody” when he grew up, his father said in an interview Saturday.

“He never saw violence in our household,” Modesto Cunanan told ABS-CBN television. “That was never part of his growing up years.”

Andrew Cunanan, who killed himself on July 23, was suspected in the July 15 slaying of fashion designer Gianni Versace in Miami. He was also the prime suspect in four killings in Minnesota, Illinois and New Jersey.

“Even to this day I’m very very doubtful whether I could really believe that the son I raised from the cradle is actually capable of that kind of violence,” said Modesto Cunanan, who fled to his native Philippines in 1988 amid allegations he had embezzled funds from his stock-brokerage company.

He said his marriage to his American wife broke down when his son was a young boy, but he waited until his son was 18 to get a divorce. He said he tried to maintain harmony and peace before then.

“What happened to Andrew after that, whether he was overwhelmed by disappointments and so forth, I wouldn’t discount the possibility that it did happen,” he added.

Modesto Cunanan said when he would ask his son about his ambitions, Andrew would reply, “I wanna be somebody.”

He also addressed reports attributed to his former wife Maryann Cunanan who said their son was a male prostitute.

“I cannot deny or confirm that that became his job,” he said. “Maybe that was the effect of the environment. Maybe he saw in his difficulties that that was where he could make money.”

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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