Man arrested in decades-old cold case of woman strangled with sweater in Niles YMCA

A man has been arrested in connection with a 29-year-old cold case in north suburban Niles.

DNA evidence was used to charge Richard J. Sisto with first-degree murder in the 1992 strangulation of 35-year-old Helen K. Cardwell at a YMCA, Niles Police Deputy Chief Nick Zakula said.

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 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.

Richard J. Sisto | Chicago police

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

Sisto 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.