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What happened to Yolanda Saldívar?

Yolanda Saldívar

March 31, 1995, was an extremely dark day for one Spanish family hailing from Texas. A deeply talented singer, Selena Quintanilla- Perez of the Tejano music fame, was brutally murdered outside a motel. The 23-year old was slowly making a name in the American showbiz industry before her life was horrendously cut short. 

Her Spanish community (and America, in general) referred to her as the Mexican Madonna. Some also called her The Queen of Tejano music. Miss Perez was actually in the process of creating an English album (her earlier ones were in Spanish) to reach a wider audience. Sadly, the beautiful singer was shot and killed by one Yolanda Saldívar.

Who is Yolanda Saldívar?

Neither America nor the rest of the world knew anything about Yolanda Saldívar before 1995. She became famous when she was arrested for murdering the young Spanish queen in cold blood. 

It all started when Yolanda (a licensed nurse) contacted Selena’s dad Abraham Quintanilla concerning her desire to start Selena’s fan club in San Antonio. Abraham didn’t buy the idea at first but gave in after a little persistence from Saldívar. The nurse claims (to this day) that she was the late musician’s greatest fan. She quit her job to help promote Selena to the world.

Yolanda started the fan club and took over the role of the president. After only two years, the club had grown to 1500 members. In less than four years since its inception, the number had shot to 5,000. To thank Saldívar for her hard work, Selena promoted her to manage her clothing boutiques.

Unfortunately, the good times didn’t last for too long. Abraham soon discovered that the nurse turned fan club president was embezzling funds from his daughter.

Before the discovery, customers would complain of unfulfilled orders. Selena’s dad found enough evidence that Saldívar was mismanaging the shops and stealing cash from both the boutiques and the fan club.

On March 9, 1995, Perez’s family confronted Saldívar about the accusations. Abraham spoke to UPI in 1995, saying he told the nurse that he would report her actions to the police and open an embezzlement investigation on her.

Things went south after that.

Yolanda bought a revolver following the confrontation. She then contacted the beautiful singer on March 31, claiming that she was ready to give up the finance documents she had earlier refused to turn in. Selena didn’t question her motives, so she went to a Day’s motel located in Corpus Christi, Texas, to meet with her. 

Upon meeting, Saldívar bought time by telling the innocent beauty that she’d been sexually assaulted in Mexico. As a result, she needed to see a gynecologist. The singer decided to drive Saldívar to a nearby hospital. No treatment was offered because the assault had taken place in another country. They went back to the inn.

While there, Selena insisted that she wanted the records. Instead of handing them over, Saldívar reached for her purse, pulled a revolver, and pointed it at the Spanish music star. Selena made a run for it, but the killer shot her in the back. The bullet severed one of the major arteries, so the singer began bleeding profusely. 

She ran to the lobby screaming for help. Behind, Yolanda pursued, calling her a b***ch. The clerk called 911, who responded and rushed her to the nearby hospital, but Selena had lost too much blood by then. The talented young adult lost her life in the ordeal.

What happened to Yolanda?

After an everlasting stalemate with the Texas police, Saldívar was arrested and charged with murder. According to the LA Times, the 60-year old pointed the gun to her head, saying, “It wasn’t my intention to kill anybody. It wasn’t my intention to do it.”

As you might have expected, Miss Yolanda Saldívar didn’t plead guilty to the crime. Her lawyers insisted that the murder was accidental. As per Saldívar’s testimony, Selena said to her, “Yolanda, please don’t shoot yourself.” She then opened the door. As the nurse told her to leave it shut, the firearm went off.

Despite saying she was innocent, the jury decided otherwise during the trials. After a two-hour debate, the vote was cast to convict the trained nurse of first-degree murder.

She is now doing life imprisonment at a Texas maximum security called Mountain View Unit. Saldívar will qualify for parole in 2025.

Why did Saldívar kill Selena?

Saldívar clearly loved Selena and deeply so. At one point, Selena referred to her as “mom.” During trials, Abraham (Selena’s dad) told the jury that he believed Saldívar murdered his beloved daughter in a crime of passion.

Could it be that Saldívar was too obsessed with the singer that she couldn’t handle being rejected by her?

According to a few individuals who knew her, Yolanda was truly obsessed with the Mexican Madonna. Her apartment was littered with pictures of the singer. Some people say her place was a shrine of sorts. 

Netflix just released a series on the singer’s short life. The character of Saldívar, played by Natasha Perez, has only a short appearance in the show. The actress has stated that “her portrayal of Saldívar is purely for entertainment purposes” after fearing that hard-core fans of the late singer might mistake her for the real Saldívar and retaliate.

This goes to show that after all these years, the singer’s life, even though cut short, has touched many and continues to do so.