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Arrest made in nearly 30-year-old murder of woman strangled with sweater in Niles YMCA

DNA evidence was used in the investigation that led to murder charges against Richard J. Sisto, 72, in the 1992 strangulation of Helen K. Cardwell, police say.

Leaning Tower YMCA, 6300 W. Touhy Ave., in Niles.
Leaning Tower YMCA, 6300 W. Touhy Ave., in Niles.
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A man has been arrested for the nearly 30-year-old murder of a woman at the Niles YMCA.

DNA evidence was used to charge Richard J. Sisto with first-degree murder charge in the 1992 strangulation of Helen K. Cardwell, according to Niles Police Deputy Chief Nick Zakula.

Sisto, 72, was already in custody for a minor offense in Harris County, Texas when the arrest warrant was signed Oct. 15, Zakula said.

Cardwell, 35, was found strangled in her room at the Leaning Tower YMCA, 6300 W. Touhy Ave., on Nov. 7, 1992, the Sun-Times reported. Her sister from DeKalb found her in the room on a bed with a sweater around her neck, police said.

Cardwell had lived at the YMCA since that August, when she moved from West Virginia, police said. She was scheduled to start work as a technician the following day at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge.

Sisto, who last lived in Lake in the Hills, is being held on a $1 million bond but his extradition date hasn’t been set.

Niles police declined to share more information until a news conference scheduled for 10 a.m. Oct. 27.