On March 31, 1995, former Selena Quintanilla-Pérez fan club president Yolanda Saldivar infamously gunned down the Latin pop singer at a motel in Corpus Christi, Texas. Though Yolanda went to prison for the crime, her motive is still a mystery, as she claimed it was an accident. However, prosecutors believed otherwise. In Oxygen’s February 2024 docuseries Selena and Yolanda: The Secrets Between Them, the Texas native alleged that there was more to the story.

What Happened to Selena Quintanilla?

In 1991, Yolanda received the green light from Selena’s father, Abraham Quintanilla, to start a fan club for the singer in the San Antonio, Texas, area after several calls asking him for permission. She became the fan club’s president, and the group quickly grew to thousands of members.

Yolanda, a former nurse, then took on a job as the manager of Selena’s boutique, Selena Etc. She was responsible for the business’ checking accounts. However, after hearing from employees that Yolanda allegedly failed to provide some of their paychecks, Abraham began to suspect that she was embezzling money from both the fan club and boutique. He and Selena fired Yolanda, but the “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” singer remained in contact with her because Yolanda still had some of her financial paperwork.

On the day of her murder, Selena and Yolanda arranged to meet at a Days Inn in Corpus Christi so that Selena could retrieve her documents. During their meeting, Yolanda pulled out a gun and shot Selena as she ran out the door. Witnesses at the time claimed that they saw Yolanda chase the singer as she ran, calling Selena a “bitch” while pointing the gun at her. Though Selena managed to reach the lobby for help, she collapsed and later died at a hospital due to blood loss.

Why Did Yolanda Saldivar Kill Selena Quintanilla?

Many people believed that Yolanda killed Selena in an act of jealousy or as revenge for firing her. However, Yolanda claimed in a 1995 interview with ABC’s 20/20 that she didn’t kill Selena on purpose. “They made me out to be a monster, and I just want to say, I did not kill Selena,” she said. “It was an accident, and my conscience is clear.”

She also claimed that Selena never told her she was being fired before they met at the motel. Yolanda said that she pulled out a gun and threatened to kill herself if Selena didn’t leave. Selena allegedly tried to de-escalate the situation by closing the motel door so they could talk privately.

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“And when she was walking to the door, she was going at an angle, and I told her, ‘Don’t close the door.’ And in that instant, the gun went off,” Yolanda added.

Yolanda told a similar story in Oxygen’s Selena and Yolanda: The Secrets Between Them docuseries, which aired on February 17 and 18, 2024. She claimed that there was never any proof that she embezzled money and that she purchased the gun after Abraham and Selena initially accused her of the financial crime.

“I didn’t feel safe. It was my own self-defense that if anything came my way, I was going to protect myself. I was fearful,” she said.

The former nurse also alleged that Selena’s “secret” was that she was having an affair and asked Yolanda to make purchases on her behalf to hide the affair from her husband, Chris Pérez. Yolanda claimed that the money she took from the fan club and boutique was to pay herself back for the purchases, adding that Selena allegedly knew about it. However, there was no evidence to substantiate Yolanda’s affair story.

When Does Yolanda Saldivar Get Out of Prison?

Yolanda was found guilty and convicted of first-degree murder in October 1995. She is currently serving a life sentence at the Patrick O’Daniel Unit in Texas. However, she will be eligible for parole 30 years after the murder, in March 2025.

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