Selena Quintanilla-Perez began her music career at a young age and quickly rose to fame in the Tejano music industry. Unfortunately, the Latin-American singer’s career was cut short by Selena’s trusted friend and assistant, Yolanda Saldívar who murdered Selena in her own hometown.
Yolanda Saldívar: Nurse to Selena Fan Club President
Saldívar received her degree in nursing and began working at the San Antonio hospital in 1990. While she was in the midst of her studies, Yolanda became fascinated with Tejano music because of Selena. She wanted to be more than just a fan and personally went to Selena’s father, Abraham Quintanilla, offering to start a fan club for Selena. Yolanda claimed she would take care of the merchandise and Abraham agreed.
Selena rose to fame fairly quickly and received Best Female Vocalist in the Tejano Music Awards by the age of 16. Her fan club gained popularity with over a thousand members within just a few years. Yolanda claimed that she wanted to start the fan club because she didn’t have much of a social life in college as she was focused on her studies. The fan club proved to be all that Yolanda had hoped for as she finally got to meet Selena and their singer-fan relationship prospered into a friendship. Yolanda was promoted from fan club president to an employee of Selena’s. She became a do-it-all assistant and stuck by Selena’s side managing her schedule.
Yolanda Saldívar Becomes Manager at Selena Etc.
Selena worked with fashion designer Martin Gomez and opened up two boutiques named Selena Etc. in Selena’s hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas and another in San Antonio. Selena and Yolanda’s relationship grew stronger and Abraham introduced the idea that Yolanda could manage the San Antonio boutique. Selena put all her trust in Yolanda and never believed that her friend would betray her, but Martin Gomez quickly became suspicious of Yolanda and her seemingly obsessive behavior.
It was not long before quarrels began to start between Yolanda and Selena’s family after discovering the former nurse was embezzling money from the fan club and the boutique. Yolanda would write checks to herself and use Selena’s corporate card for non-business related purchases. There were also claims that Saldívar had members of the fan club writing membership checks directly to herself and pocketing the money.
There was an instance where Yolanda collected around $3,000 from employees of the boutique to buy a gift for Selena. Instead, Yolanda pocketed the money and used the corporate card to purchase a fabergé egg ring for Selena, claiming it was a personal gift only from her. The ring was a symbol of Selena and Yolanda’s friendship and Selena vowed that she would never take it off.
Selena’s father confronted Yolanda about the cash flow issues of the boutique and threatened to take legal actions and fired her from the management position. Shortly after being fired, Yolanda purchased a Taurus .38 special handgun and hollow point bullets from a San Antonio gun store on March 11, 1995.
The Friendship of Selena and Yolanda Saldívar Takes a Deadly Turn
Selena requested tax documents from Yolanda who was in charge of taking care of her finances for the 1994 tax year. One day Yolanda called Selena hysterical, claiming she had been assaulted in Mexico by two men and wanted to meet with her at a Days Inn motel in Corpus Christi. Chris Perez, Selena’s husband, drove Selena to the Days Inn as he was skeptical of Yolanda. After listening to her assault story, Selena gets what seem to be the tax documents she had been asking for only to find out that the tax documents were not in the file that Yolanda gave her.
Selena grew frustrated and contacted Yolanda again about the documents as the deadline for filing was coming up. Yolanda claimed she needed to go to the hospital because she was bleeding from the assault so Selena went to the Days Inn alone to drive her to the hospital. The doctor stated that there were no indications of assault and Selena realized that Yolanda was lying to her.
The two argued over the matter as they returned to the motel where things escalated. Selena was tremendously upset with Yolanda as she realized the tax documents were not at the motel and took off the prized fabergé friendship ring. At that moment Yolanda knew that her employment and friendship with Selena was finally over. Yolanda pulled out the handgun she had purchased and shot Selena in the back. The bullet went through Selena’s front and severed her subclavian artery, causing an immense amount of bleeding.
The Fatal Shot That Took Selena’s Life
Selena ran from Yolanda out of the motel room and to the Days Inn lobby where the employees were able to call 911. Selena was rushed to the Corpus Christi Memorial Hospital where she would be pronounced dead at the age of 23, approximately two hours after the incident on March 31, 1995. Doctors who tended to Selena’s gunshot wound claimed that if the shot had been fired slightly higher or lower it may have missed the artery and Selena could have lived, but the severed artery caused a tremendous amount of blood loss which led to her death.
Police Standoff With Yolanda Saldívar
Yolanda remained at the Days Inn motel after shooting Selena. Saldívar trapped herself in her vehicle holding a gun to her head while Corpus Christi Police negotiator Larry Young tried to calm Yolanda down and get her to safely exit the vehicle. Young claimed that Yolanda was hysterically crying and said she did not mean to harm Selena and wanted to commit suicide. The standoff went on late into the night and after 9 long hours of negotiation, Yolanda finally exited the vehicle and was arrested.
Yolanda Saldívar Goes on Trial for Murder
During the trial Yolanda claimed that the shooting was an accident but after several witnesses from the motel testified, it became clear that Yolanda intentionally shot Selena. The trial lasted 14 days and deliberation from the jury took less than 3 hours. The verdict was Yolanda Saldívar was found guilty for the murder of Selena on October 26, 1995 and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
Saldívar was sent to a women’s state prison in Gatesville, Texas. Yolanda will be eligible for parole on March 30, 2025. Thousands of people flooded the streets near the courthouse where the trial was being held and when the verdict was announced the crowd roared with joy for the justice of Selena.
Saldívar Takes Secrets to Her Grave
Yolanda was interviewed in 1998 about the murder of Selena where she vaguely answered questions and was reluctant to share any information about why she shot Selena. Yolanda went as far as to say that she did not kill Selena, but that it was an accident and she had a clear conscience. A letter was brought up in the interview from an unidentified man named Lorenzo Salinas, who apparently was sent to beat up Yolanda in Mexico because she had possession of tapes and Selena’s diary that could exploit the singer and damage her career.
Yolanda claimed the tapes and diary were hidden in a safe deposit box in Mexico. Investigators went on a search to find the safe deposit box but found that there was no such thing. Despite Yolanda claiming she has access to this information, the tapes and diary would still not explain why she murdered Selena since she claimed that she was trying to protect the singer and never wanted to harm her.
Yolanda Saldívar’s Obsession With Selena
Although Yolanda claims that she was not obsessed with Selena, her behaviors show otherwise. The former nurse and assistant loved Selena so much that she became manipulative and controlling. Martin Gomez claimed that he was not allowed to see Selena unless it was run by Yolanda. Gomez also met with Yolanda at her house to talk about the boutique and her house was filled with Selena posters and pictures. When Yolanda was at a standoff with police she was hysterically crying and shouting about how much she loved Selena. It is unknown whether Yolanda murdered Selena because she was obsessed with the rising star or if she envied her.
Yolanda Saldívar Becomes a Famous Killer and Selena’s Legacy Lives On
The TV show Murder Made Me Famous aired an episode in season 3 about Yolanda Saldívar and what led her to the murder. Selena, known as the “Queen of Tejano Music”, had a major impact on many Latin-American fans and is commemorated for her music legacy. In November of 2017, Selena was honored with a Hollywood Walk of Fame star and is commemorated for the way she uplifted the Tejano music scene with her explosive vocals and charismatic personality. The singer is buried at the Seaside Memorial Park in her hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas.