The group's founder, Carol Spizzirri, decided to start the group after her daughter died in a car accident. Spizzirri claimed it was a hit-and-run accident and the first responders on the scene didn't know life-saving procedures.
But published reports in the years to follow would reveal a different story. Spizzirri's daughter was in a car accident, but it wasn't a hit-and-run. It was a single car accident. Her blood alcohol level was above the legal limit at the time of the crash. And she didn't die at the scene. She died later at the hospital.
Reports also questioned Spizzirri's qualifications. She claimed to be a registered nurse, but records couldn't be found in Illinois or Wisconsin where she attended school. And though the Save-A-Life Foundation was educating students, records weren't kept to backup claims of training "hundreds of thousands" of children.
Amid questions about the organization's mission and finances in 2009, the not-for-profit dissolved with the State of Illinois. In its 16-years of existence, the Save-A-Life Foundation got close to $9 million in funding from both federal and state government.
As the organization was looking to move its operation statewide in 2003, it got $200,000 in state grants to buy a building on Capitol Avenue in Springfield. When the foundation dissolved in 2009, it sold the Springfield building for $109,750, according to tax records.
But the group did not list the sale in its final filing with the Attorney General's Charitable Trust Bureau. WCIA-3 News obtained documents revealing correspondence between Save-A-Life officials and the Illinois Attorney General.
In the months following the dissolution, the AG repeatedly asks for documentation on the money obtained thought the sale. Spizzirri never provides any accounting of the money. The correspondence ends in August of 2010.
A spokesperson for Attorney General Lisa Madigan says the "matter is still open." She would not say whether the office is investigating the Save-A-Life Foundation.