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Where Is Yolanda Saldívar Now 2020?
In 1991, Yolanda Saldívar seemed like a fiercely dedicated fan of Tejano music sensation, Selena Quintanilla, but over the course of four years, Saldívar’s relationship with Selena, her family, and the Tejano music community would shift further than anyone could have anticipated. By the end of Spring 1995, Saldívar had evolved from enthusiastic fan to criminal, charged with the murder of her idol, Selena. Now, 25 years after the murder, Saldívar is known as the woman who cut down one of the biggest music acts of the 20th century right as she was beginning to truly rise to superstardom. And yet, to this day, Saldívar insists that it was an accident.
Saldívar first came into the Quintanilla family’s life in 1991. That is the point that she arrives in the Netflix series, Selena: The Series. At the time, she was a 30-year-old registered nurse, born in Texas, 11 years Selena’s senior. Saldívar claimed to be Selena’s biggest fan, reportedly calling Abraham Quintanilla Jr. incessantly, insisting that she create a fan club for Selena. Later that same year, she founded the Selena Fan Club.
In the years that followed, Saldívar obsessively dedicated herself to her Selena-related duties, growing the San Antonio based fan club to over 1,500 members. When Selena would perform in San Antonio, Saldívar would be by her side, as her “eyes and ears” according to Texas Monthly. More haunting though, the Texas Monthly article detailing Selena’s death in 1995 reports that Saldívar was a loner who exhibited troubling behavior. One woman “moved into an apartment with Yolanda [and] discovered that Yolanda didn’t just have pictures of Selena on her walls—the whole place was ‘like a shrine.’ Spooked, the woman moved out after two weeks.”
From there things escalated. The apex of Sadlívar and the Quintanilla family’s distrust came after fans were reporting they’d send in fan club dues but not receive any of the promised merchandise that was part of singing up. Abraham started independently looking into the matter. Saldívar’s behavior was an issue for obvious reasons, but it was doubly concerning because she had since taken on more duties, leaving her job as a nurse to manage Selena’s boutiques.
Martin Gomez, a designer who shared office space with Saldívar while she managed Selena’s clothing line, quit six weeks before Saldívar would eventually go on to kill Selena, noting to The Washington Post, “The last call I had with Selena, the last call, I told her to be careful,” Gomez said. “It was very weird. I was very afraid of Yolanda. But I never thought she would hurt Selena. I never thought it would come to this.”
Following several discussions about embezzlement allegations and stolen documents, Saldívar went off the radar. She eventually purchased a .38 caliber pistol 18 days before the murder and reappeared in Corpus Christi, Texas. Saldívar invited Selena to a Days Inn where she was staying. It was there that she and Selena exchanged words and Saldívar eventually pulled a gun on the superstar. As Selena was leaving the room, Saldívar fired the gun at Selena, mortally wounding her. Police surrounded the location and Saldívar held police off for nine hours, sitting in a red pickup truck, threatening to kill herself.
Why Did Yolanda Kill Selena?
In an interview with A&E Real Crime, Carlos Valdez said, “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.” Valdez, at the time, was the lead prosecutor in Saldívar’s murder case. He now serves as a district judge in Texas.
Will Yolanda Ever Be Released From Prison?
Days after the murder, speaking with Texas Monthly, Abraham said he had always been wary of Saldívar to some extent, “the death threats that Emilio Navaira’s wife had received [from her].” At the time Navaira was argued to be Selena’s biggest competition in the Tejano crossover space. Later in 1995, Saldívar was found guilty of first-degree murder by a jury of her peers. She was sentenced to life in prison, with the possibility of parole. Her next parole hearing is scheduled in 2025.
Justin Kirkland is a writer for Esquire, where he focuses on entertainment, television, and pop culture.
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