When the Queen of Tejano music, Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, was shot to death on the morning of March 31, 1995, it left not just the entire nation but the world heartbroken to the very core. That’s especially because it was none other than the founder/president of her fan club, manager of her boutique plus beauty salons, and closest friend Yolanda Saldívar who’d pulled the trigger. This much has actually even been explored in Oxygen’s ‘Selena and Yolanda: The Secrets Between Them,’ yet the latter has always vehemently maintained it was all an unfortunate accident.
Who is Yolanda Saldívar?
Although born on September 19, 1960, in San Antonio, Texas, as a younger one of Juanita and Frank Saldívar’s big brood of seven, Yolanda fortunately didn’t grow up under anyone’s shadow. The truth is each sibling was given free rein to express themselves the way they liked as long as they were kind and respectful, which enabled them to stand in one another’s genuine support too. In fact, when the former decided to be the first in her family to attend college at 18, she was offered pure, unwavering assistance as well as words of backing, care, motivation, and pride.
That’s how Yolanda was admittedly able to evolve into a registered nurse at a relatively young age, unaware her deep interest in music would soon result in pursuing a wholly different career path. She’d actually attended a Selena concert right in the late 1980s alongside a few of her siblings, nieces, and nephews, only for the kids to voice they wished this singer had a fan club of some sort. So, being the cool aunt she is, she reportedly contacted Selena’s father/manager about establishing an official fan club in San Antonio, just for it to quickly expand to a national and international level.
Yolanda was thus appointed President in 1991, which gradually increased her interactions with the Quintanillas to such an extent they grew to value her work plus trust her with crucial aspects. This included her once being asked to accompany the popstar for a video shoot in Las Angeles all alone — she obviously said yes, but she truly never thought they’d end this trop as best friends. According to the aforementioned original, Selena was so impressed and relieved upon seeing the casual yet determined way this former nurse functioned that she began opening up to her about everything.
Whether it be work frustrations, secrets from family, or marriage details, Selena shared it all with Yolanda — she even called her “buffy,” a nickname clarifying she was a part of the inner circle. It hence comes as no surprise that — combined with the club reaching 1,500 members in less than four years or 5,000 subscribers overall — the latter was soon rightly promoted by the star. She was actually appointed to be a manager at the Selena Etc boutique-beauty salons in 1993, just for nearly each facet to turn upside down in the ensuing two years, that is, until the March 31, 1995 shooting.
As per official records, Yolanda had begun embezzling significant funds from both the fan club as well as the Selena Etc boutiques in early 1995, leading to her firing following a March 9 meeting. She thus decided to purchase a gun on March 11 before really starting to plot her revenge with the help of some financial records her friend/the legendary musician had previously left with her. Then, according to court documents, she lured Selena into room 158 of the Days Inn motel in Corpus Christi to retrieve these records on March 31, only to ultimately pull the trigger as she was running away.
However, Yolanda’s own narrative is drastically different — she claims she hadn’t embezzled a single dollar and that the March 9 meeting of accusations was more to intimidate her despite Selena’s support. She even asserted that although she’d bought the gun, it was for self-defense against her friend’s father, who was allegedly not just eerily controlling but also mad about not being a part of Selena Etc. Then comes her frankly dubious “firing,” especially when she’d ostensibly sent in her attorney-written resignation letter on March 13, moved out of her Corpus Christi apartment, plus landed a new nursing job back in her hometown of San Antonio, all the while the musician continued to stay in touch as a mere close friend.
Where is Yolanda Saldívar Now?
Yolanda has always maintained she had indeed invited Selena to room 158 of the Days Inn motel so that she could retrieve her financial records, yet asserts the latter had willingly shown up at 8 am. One thing then led to another, she claims, and she “accidentally” ended up shooting at her friend as she was walking away — an accident that had the bullet severing an artery from the back. While Selena was subsequently rushed to a nearby hospital, where she was later pronounced dead from blood loss plus cardiac arrest, the triggerwoman locked herself in her truck before threatening to kill herself.
It wasn’t until around 9:20 – 9:30 pm that negotiators managed to lure Yolanda out, following which she was taken into police custody, extensively questioned, and charged with first-degree murder. Her ensuing trial purportedly did not include her accounts of what’d transpired in detail, but it did indicate she’d pulled out the weapon on the fateful morning to really kill herself, not her best friend.
“Selena, when she came into the [hotel] room, she kept trying to put guilt in me for not continuing with her, and how everything was going to crumble,” she said in ‘Selena and Yolanda.’ “My emotions were running so high, and I was hurting.” She hence pulled the gun out on herself, but the singer begged her not to do anything before attempting to leave. “I said, ‘Don’t close the door,’ and pow! it went.”
But alas, with less than three hours of deliberations, the jury found this then-35-year-old guilty on October 23, and she was later sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 30 years. Therefore, today, at 60, Yolanda remains incarcerated at the maximum-security Patrick O’Daniel Unit in Gatesville, where she’s expected to stay until at least her parole eligibility date of March 30, 2025.
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