The memories of an American-Mexican singer, Selena Quintanilla, are still as vivid in our minds as they were 25 years ago.
The lively and talented American soul, Selena Quintanilla-Perez was working on her English album, Dreaming of You, after the successful launch of her four Spanish-language albums across Latin America and Mexico.
It was supposed to be the beginning of a new chapter in her career, but before she could complete her record, the lady was killed by her fan club's president and manager of her boutiques, Yolanda Saldivar, in her hotel room at the Days Inn in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Selena Quintanilla's Murder
She was only 23 years old.
Selena may have left this world, but her legacy continues even after 25 years of her passing. The young singer was not only known for her songs, but all for her sense of style and fashion. From Selena-inspired clothing and makeup to tribute albums, wax statues and figures, people have been remembering the young artist with various art forms.
The upcoming Netflix’s Selena: The series is the latest addition to the long list of tributes.
Here we look back at Selena’s tragic death and how her close acquaintance turned into a woeful enemy and took her life:
30 days before her death; Selena was at the peak of her career
A 23-year-old American singer was right on track to become a successful singer in the music industry. In fact, on 26th February 1995, she had performed to over 60,000 attendees at the Houston Astrodome, her biggest ever crowd of the Houston Livestock and Rodeo that year.
She also attended the Grammys at Los Angeles on March 1, and was nominated for the category of ‘Best Mexican-American Performance’ for her Amor Prohibido album.
Selena didn’t win this time but she had been a Grammy winner for the Best Mexican-American Album for Selena Live! In 1994. She was working on an English-medium album in an attempt to begin her new chapter as a remarkable star-like Gloria Estefan.
It has been reported that she was planning to have kids with husband Perez, as the couple was reportedly building a house using around 10 acre land piece in Texas, Corpus Christi.
20 days prior her death, she had a fight with Yolanda Saldivar
Selena, in 1994, started a new fashion venture called “Selena Etc.,” with stores in San Francisco and Christi. The stores offered a variety of fashion products, including original clothes, jewelry and other salon services. But unfortunately, the stores were encountering several financial issues but she didn’t lose hope and opened a clothing factory in Monterrey, Mexico.
Helping Selena in managing the stores’ operations and motivating her for the expansion of her factory was her “friend” and colleague, Yolanda Saldivar, who later became her killer!
Saldivar was the president of Selena’s fan club and used to supervise her publicist activities. She earned the trust of Selena and her family and, as a result, she was given a responsibility to manage the stores' operations.
On March 1995, Selena’s father started receiving reports of Saldivar’s mismanagement, with fan club members complaining about not getting the items they’d paid for. So, Selena and her father confronted her and asked for an explanation, but she couldn’t justify her wrongdoings.
One day at her store, Selena was reportedly seen fighting with Saldivar over her questionable behavior. There were reports and accounts of other employees claiming that Saldivar had been stealing money from the store of San Antonio.
10 days prior to her death, Selena found that Saldivar was carrying a gun
Although she had rough encounters with Saldivar, Selena didn’t entirely cut off her affairs with her. Saldivar still had full access to Selena’s financial accounts.
After learning that some of her important financial details are missing, she confronted Saldivar again and asked her to return them.
According to Selena’s memoir written by her husband Perez, Selena met Saldivar around March 15 to take her missing documents back. During a rough skirmish between the two, Saldivar agreed to give some of her files but not everything. At that point, Saldivar told her that she is carrying a gun that's in her purse.
That revolver was actually Selena’s store’s property, bought by Saldivar herself. The 0.38-caliber weapon was supposed to be in the store instead of Saldivar’s purse. Selena insisted her to return the weapon to the store, and she did.
5 days earlier Selena's death, Selena travelled to Tennessee and worked on her ongoing English-medium album.
Despite all the issues with Saldivar, Elena was fully dedicated to her crossover album. Just a week prior she was killed, Selena travelled to Tennessee for recording more songs for her album. She worked alongside the producer and songwriter Keith Thomas on “I Could Fall in Love.”
A night before her death, the lady encountered Saldivar again…
On Thursday night, 30th March 1995, Saldivar called Selena to meet her alone, claiming that she was carrying all the documents and wanted to give it to her. Selena’s husband Perez accompanied her to see Saldivar in Corpus Christi, at the Days Inn, (the same hotel where the couple was staying).
In that meeting, Saldivar didn’t give her all the documents that she needed. However, the meeting ended with no violence, with Selena returning home to spend time with her husband. The couple also visited her father-in-law on the same night.
That night, Saldivar was carrying a gun, which she purchased again on 26th March.
On Her Death Day, Selena visited Saldivar again at the hospital
On the ill-fated day of March 31st, 1995, Selena received a distress call from Saldivar, claiming that she had been raped during her stay in Monterrey, Mexico.
She claimed that she was bleeding a lot after the alleged assault, so Selena had to take her to the hospital for examination.
The hospital refused to perform an examination on Saldivar, as she was not a Corpus Christi's resident and also not in the jurisdiction where the assault happened. The two returned to the hotel together where Selena was staying, hoping that she would return her stolen documents. She was in Saldivar’s room, when she was shot. She was bleeding heavily and ran towards the hotel lobby; one of the motel employees testified Selena death scene in the court stating that Selena named Saldivar as her killer before she collapsed.
Selena was taken to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 1:05 p.m.
Saldivar claimed that it was an accident!
During an hour-long session with the police, Saldivar claimed that the shooting was merely an accident and she did not intend to kill the artist. In October, Yolanda was convicted of murder. She was then sentenced to spend her life in prison with being eligible for parole in 2025.
Even after 25 years of her death, Selena remains an iconic figure in the music industry. The English album she was working on before her death, “Dreaming of You”, released after death and ranked no.1 on the U.S Billboard 200 chart.
Netflix’s upcoming series Selena: The Series is slated to release on December 4th; the biological drama will follow the artist’s journey to stardom and to her untimely death and some facts to know.
Watch the trailer here: