Positively WAVE: Louisville woman meets her long-lost father in person after more than 60 years

Woman reunited with estranged father following DNA test results

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A Louisville woman had waited more than 60 years to meet her father before she finally did it last month.

In February, pieces of 62-year-old Marsha Smith Bingham’s life came together. With the help of a genetic testing kit, and faith, she found her father.

Four years ago, Bingham decided to try 23andMe to learn more about her background. That led to something major this year. Just by chance, a girl named Kiara Cordero in North Carolina took a 23andMe test, too, and the puzzle came together.

Kiara turned out to be Bingham’s fourth cousin, and she was able to put Bingham and her father, Cruz Cordero, together on the phone in February.

Cordero and Bingham immediately connected. Bingham’s father lives in Florida now, and after talking on the phone and texting for weeks, she finally flew down to Florida in April to visit her dad in person. Bingham’s family traveled with her and they captured the reunion on camera. There were no words needed when Bingham hugged her father.

“At that moment, I became his little girl,” Bingham said. “Being able to finally touch this person that God had given me a long time ago.”

After more than 60 years apart, Bingham traveled to Florida to spend time with her father.
After more than 60 years apart, Bingham traveled to Florida to spend time with her father. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

They spent six days together in Florida.

“He is a beautiful man,” Bingham said. “Character is impeccable. I love him. He did tell me some things that was in the beginning that was totally different from what I thought.”

Bingham’s mother and her father met in 1955 when Cordero was a soldier at Fort Knox. He ended up getting deployed, and left not knowing he was going to be a father. Bingham’s mother eventually told him in a letter that she was pregnant and he wrote back but she decided to end the relationship. She told him that she was naming her daughter Martha.

“Martha Louise Cordero, and she named me Marsha Louise Smith,” Bingham said. “There was no way for him to find me.”

Cordero tried over the years, and knowing that meant so much to Bingham.

The 23andMe test helped Marsha Bingham find her father, Cruz Cordero.
The 23andMe test helped Marsha Bingham find her father, Cruz Cordero. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

“When I got there, he said, ‘Welcome home,’" Bingham said.

They were side by side during her visit to Florida. Now, back home, they continue to stay in touch.

“We text almost every day,” Bingham said. “He said, ‘I was sitting and thinking about you all day, and how it must have been to not have a father and I just wanted to let you know that I love you.’ For him to go back and think about me thinking about what I went through, the wrong paths I went because he was not there to help me along that way in that area, was kind of moving. There is no holding grudges of the past. I have to move on in this time, and I ask the Lord give me some time, let me have some time with him.”

Her father is 85 years old, and Bingham knows she has to make the best of their time.

“Just enjoy the moment and I did ... I did,” Bingham said.

She said she plans to visit him again in Florida in September. She still hasn’t met her new siblings on her paternal side; she hopes to do that soon. She said she did meet her new stepmother. One thing Bingham said she was excited to learn about her father was that he was a police sergeant in Puerto Rico.

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