Yolanda Saldívar Met Selena Quintanilla the Way Many People Did — She Was a Fan First

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Feb. 6 2024, Published 7:03 p.m. ET

In March 1995, Yolanda Saldívar called her former boss and friend Selena Quintanilla over to the Days Inn hotel in Corpus Christi, Texas, where she was staying. Saldívar's relationship with the popular Tejano singer was fractured and she was doing everything she could to keep Quintanilla in her life. An argument erupted between the two which resulted in Saldívar shooting Selena.

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According to The New York Times, Saldívar "kept police at bay for nearly 10 hours as she sat in a red pickup truck in the motel parking lot with a gun pointed at her temple." She repeatedly said it was an accident; she did not mean to kill her friend. Seven months later Saldívar would be found guilty of first-degree murder and received a life sentence. So, how did Yolanda meet Selena? Here's what we know.

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How did Yolanda meet Selena? She started the singer's first fan club.

Saldívar reached out to Selena's father Abraham Quintanilla and begged him to let her start a fan club. "She was really persistent," he told A&E. "I thought it was a good idea. Even though I didn't know this person, she sounded sincere. So I gave her my blessing." Soon Saldívar was quitting her job as a nurse in order to run the fan club full-time as its president.

While her music career was taking off, Quintanilla was also focusing on her passion for fashion. She launched her own clothing design and opened up two boutiques in Texas. One was in Corpus Christi and the other was located in San Antonio. Saldívar was excelling as Quintanilla's fan club president which is why Selena's father thought she would be an excellent store manager at one of the boutiques. Quintanilla agreed and asked Saldívar to manage them both.

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"To be honest, we liked Yolanda," explained Abraham. "We invited her to eat at our house." Their affection for Saldívar is what made her betrayal all the more brutal. Things took a dark turn when Quinanilla and her father realized Saldívar was embezzling money from the boutiques. Also, "several fans had complained that they had sent in their $22 but had never received the promised T-shirt, CD, picture or biography," per Texas Monthly. After Saldivar was confronted, she bought the gun later used to kill Quintanilla.

Selena's boutique
Source: Getty Images

Selena's boutiqe

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Due to public outcry, Saldívar had trouble finding a lawyer.

Douglas Tinker, an attorney in Texas, took the case knowing that it would be nearly impossible to win. On April 6, 1995, Saldívar was indicted by a grand jury for first-degree murder. She then pleaded not guilty despite admitting to the shooting in a signed confession. Going into the case, Tinker didn't think Saldívar stood a chance until certain discrepancies were revealed. During her interrogation, Saldívar told police that the shooting was an accident but that information never made its way into the confession.

Then a Texas Ranger by the name of Robert Garza came forward with alarming information about Saldívar's interrogation. He was standing outside of the room while she was being questioned and heard her repeatedly tell police it was an accident. Soon it was revealed that authorities recorded Saldívar's conversation with law enforcement directly after the shooting. In the recording she is heard saying several times that, "It was an accident."

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The state's case relied heavily on Saldívar's obsessive behavior toward Selena. In the months leading up to the murder, Saldívar began acting as a bodyguard for the Tejano singer. Once she was fired and frozen out of the family, Saldívar's fixation with Quintanilla ramped up. She repeatedly invented reasons to see the singer. On her last night alive, Quintanilla picked up bank statements from Saldívar at the hotel.

In the midst of their argument on that final night, Saldívar demanded Quintanilla return a ring she was gifted by the boutique employees. For some reason that set Saldívar off. While Quintanilla was taking off the ring, Saldívar pulled out the gun and screamed, "You b----!" as Quintanilla ran for the door. The last word Quintanilla said was, "Yolanda," to the 911 operator as she slipped away.

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