What Happened to American Singer Selena Quintanilla?

Selena Quintanilla
Photo Credit: Vinnie Zuffante | Getty Images, Larry Busacca | Getty Images
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Disclaimer: This article contains mentions of murder. Reader discretion is advised.

Singer Selena Quintanilla won her first Grammy in 1994 and was dubbed the Queen of Tejano Music. Sadly, the Mexican American cultural icon died in a tragic shooting incident in March 1995. According to People Magazine, Selena’s former fan club president, Yolanda Saldívar, fatally shot her on March 31 in a Texas motel. Before the shooting, Saldívar made herself known as the singer’s biggest fan.

During Saldívar’s murder trial, testimony revealed that she used to manage Selena Etc. beauty salons: one in Corpus Christi and another in San Antonio. However, Selena’s father discovered that Saldívar embezzled $30,000 from the fan club. Oxygen reported that according to Selena’s sister and boutique employee, the singer decided to fire Saldívar on March 30.

The Washington Post reported that a day later, Saldivar “lured” Selena to the Days Inn, promising to return missing financial records. However, they alleged that the former manager had full intention of killing her former idol. Reportedly, Yolanda Saldívar’s conviction in Selena Quintanilla’s murder came in October of that same year. She then received a life sentence in prison with parole after 30 years.

Oxygen True Crime’s upcoming docuseries Selena & Yolanda: The Secrets Between Them will look into the icon’s murder case. The two-part series premieres on February 17, 2024, at 8 p.m. ET.

Who is Selena Quintanilla’s killer Yolanda Saldivar?

Selena Quintanilla’s one-time fan and former manager of Selena Etc., Yolanda Saldívar was behind the Tejano singer’s shooting death. Saldívar started the Selena’s fan club in 1991. She then came into Selena’s life in early 1994, as per The Washington Post. She was initially the singer’s fan club organizer before becoming her closest aide.

Oxygen True Crime stated that a Harris County jury found Saldívar guilty of Selena’s murder on October 23, 1995. During the trial, prosecutors alleged that earlier that year, on March 31, Saldívar “lured” Selena to the Days Inn in Texas, where she fatally shot the singer.

Prosecutors alleged that the incident was prompted after the Quintanilla family accused Yolanda Saldívar of embezeling money. In early March 1995, Selena’s father, Abraham Quintanilla, found evidence that Saldivar was embezzling money from boutiques and the fan club. Afterward, this led to a heated confrontation between the Quintanillas and Saldívar, who maintained her innocence.

Esquire reported that Selena was going to fire Saldívar from her job. Nueces County District Judge Carlos Valdez, who had served as the lead prosecutor in Saldívar’s murder trial, told A&E, “Yolanda wanted to kill Selena because Selena was firing Yolanda. She wouldn’t exist if she didn’t have Selena. And if she didn’t work for Selena, she didn’t want to work for anybody.”

The outlet reported that Yolanda Saldívar lured Selena Quintanilla to the Days Inn near Corpus Christi International Airport. She reportedly promised the singer financial documents and records. There, on the morning of March 31, 1995, Saldívar shot Selena with a .38 caliber handgun in room 158. The shot critically wounded Selena, after which she fled the room while she was bleeding, crying, and screaming, “Somebody help me!”

According to the Washington Post, Saldívar chased Selena with the firearm still in her hand. The motel housekeeper, Norma Martinez, claimed she heard Saldívar call the singer a “bitch,” before watching her walk back into the room. Selena collapsed in the lobby and bled to death from the single gunshot wound to her back. The wound had severed a major artery in her chest.

Saldívar’s first-degree murder conviction came months later that same year, following which she received a life sentence with parole. Deadline reported that she is now serving her sentence and will become eligible for parole on March 30, 2025.

Selena & Yolanda: The Secrets Between Them premieres on Oxygen on February 17, 2024, at 8 p.m. ET.

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