Netflix's 'Selena: La Serie' to revisit the life of singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez whose shocking murder in 1995 shook the music world
American singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez shot to fame as a member of the group Selena y Los Dinos and subsequently launched a successful solo career in both English and Spanish
Selena Quintanilla-Perez was an American singer who shot to fame as a member of the group Selena y Los Dinos. She later launched her solo career in both English and Spanish. Abraham Quintanilla Jr., her father and manager, appointed Yolanda Saldivar as the president of his daughter's fan club in 1991 after the woman had repeatedly asked for permission to start one. Saldivar was promoted to manager of the Latina singer's boutiques in January 1994. Soon after, Selena's employees, fashion designer, and cousin started complaining about the woman's management skills. In January 1995, Abraham started getting phone calls and letters from furious fans who had sent their membership payments and had not received anything in return.
When he started investigating the complaints, he found ample evidence to show that Saldivar had embezzled $60,000 from the fan club and the boutiques using forged cheques. After the family confronted her about all of this, Saldivar bought a gun, lured the singer to a motel room, and subsequently shot her in the back. Even though doctors tried to revive the icon, she was pronounced dead from blood loss and cardiac arrest.
On this day in 1995, Tejano superstar Selena Quintanilla-Pérez was shot to death by the former president of her fan club in Corpus Christi, Texas. She was 23. https://t.co/ILgGSD3ddR pic.twitter.com/V9Hgyp44QW— The Trace (@teamtrace) March 31, 2018
Selena contacted Leonard Wong on March 30, 1995, about some perfume samples he had made for her. According to Wong, Selena had told him that she would be meeting Saldivar the following morning to pick up the samples that were stolen from her. On that same day, she told another employee at her boutique that she was going to fire Saldivar. That employee followed the singer home that night because she was worried about her.
On March 31 at 7:30 a.m., Selena left her home to meet Saldivar in her motel room. Once she reached the motel, however, her fan club and boutique manager told Selena that she had been raped while in Mexico. The concerned singer took Saldivar to the Doctors Regional Hospital where the medical staff noticed that the woman showed "clear signs of depression". Saldivar then told the medical staff that she had bled "a little".
Selena Quintanilla-Pérez - known as Selena or Queen of Tejano music. She achieved her dream of mainstream success with the album Dreaming of You but was sadly not there to see it since she was murdered months before. Her music and fashion continues to influence the world though. pic.twitter.com/3IsCDG5NhF— shy ronnie (@illestbaba) January 2, 2018
The hospital staff noticed that Selena responded angrily that Saldivar has told her the opposite story and that she had been bleeding profusely the previous day. Carla Anthony, a nurse, told Saldivar that she had to travel to San Antonio in order to get a gynecologist exam done because she "was a resident of San Antonio, the hospital was in Corpus, and the rape occurred outside the country". While the women were driving back to the motel, the singer told the manager that it would be better if they stayed away from each other for some time to avoid upsetting Abraham.
Selena was due to record a song at Q-Productions that same morning and had still not arrived at the venue so Abraham called Chris Perez, Selena's husband, to find out where she was. When Chris called his wife, she told him that she had forgotten about the session and that she was "taking care of one last [item of] business". She told him that she will be at the recording studio soon after. This was the last time Chris spoke to his wife and the last time Selena answered her cell phone.
When the women reached the motel room, they started having a heated argument. Many guests staying at the hotel complained about loud noises coming from Saldivar's room that morning. They also said that they heard two women arguing about business matters. Selena allegedly told Saldivar that she couldn't trust her anymore and asked her to return her financial papers. Selena then threw the bag containing Saldivar's bank statements onto the bed and that's when she noticed the gun.
At 11:48 a.m., Saldivar picked up the gun and pointed it at her employer. Selena tried to run away and Saldivar shot her one in the lower right shoulder. This severed an artery and caused a massive loss of blood. The singer fled towards the lobby and left a trail of blood behind that stretched for 392 feet (119m). She was spotted holding her chest and saying "Help me! Help me! I've been shot!" The murderous Saldivar was still after her with the gun and calling her a "b***h".
Saldivar was "calm" according to motel staff and went back to the room after she chased Selena. The staff tried to stop the bleeding as much as possible but they couldn't do much for the Grammy Award-winning singer. Selena's last words were "Yolanda... (room) 158". An ambulance arrived on the scene in 1 minute and 55 seconds and the paramedics proceeded to tear away Selena's green sweater where the bleeding was coming from. They applied a Vaseline gauze to the wound which stopped the surface bleeding.
After trying to resuscitate the singer multiple times, paramedic Richard Frederickson said: "it was too late". The paramedics tried inserting an intravenous needle into Selena but her veins had collapsed due to the blood loss and she had practically no blood pressure. The doctors at the Corpus Christi Memorial Hospital tried everything in their power to save Selena after she was rushed there at 12 p.m.
Selena Quintanilla-Perez was pronounced dead at 1:05 p.m. from blood loss and cardiac arrest. An autopsy was performed almost immediately due to the increased media pressure and it was revealed that the bullet has entered Selena's upper right back, close to her shoulder blade, and passed through her chest cavity.
The bullet severed the right subclavian artery and then exited her right upper chest. It is said that it only took minutes from when the bullet hit her that she lost "virtually all the blood in her body". The doctors also said that if the bullet had just been a millimeter higher or lower the wound wouldn't have been as severe.
After a nine-hour standoff with the police and her subsequent arrest, Saldivar was taken to the Nueces County Jail and kept there under suicide watch awaiting her trial. Her crime was punishable by up to 99 years behind bars and a $10,000 fine. She pleaded not guilty at the hearing and said that the shooting was an accident. On October 23, 1995, the jury deliberated for two hours before finding her guilty of murder.
Yolanda Saldivar is currently serving her sentence in Mountainview Unit, Gatesville, which is operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. She will only be eligible for parole on March 30, 2025.