A man charged with murdering an exotic dancer in Fort Worth, Texas, was a customer at the club where she worked and had stalked and threatened her after claiming to have paid her thousands of dollars, authorities said.
Stanley Szeliga, 54, is accused of fatally shooting Abigail Saldaña, an exotic dancer at Rick’s Cabaret, last week while she was behind the wheel of her car not far from the club.
“I don’t know where she was going that night,” Saldaña’s mom, Jessica Contreras, told the Star-Telegram last week. “We got a text about 6:30 p.m. that night, and the shooting happened about two hours later.”
At roughly 9 p.m. on Oct. 26, a witness reported watching a car careen off an exit ramp onto a grassy area near Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, police said. The caller described seeing bullet holes in the car’s passenger side and a person inside who wasn’t moving. Responding officers and emergency personnel pronounced Saldaña dead. Three shell casings and broken glass were found not far from Saldaña’s car.
According to an arrest warrant affidavit obtained by local outlets, Szeliga had posted on Instagram about making Zelle payments to Saldaña at times for $800, $200, and $1,000.
Three hours before Saldaña’s murder, Szeliga posted that he paid Saldaña $3,000. Szeliga threatened in the post to report her for alleged prostitution, detectives said.
In one Instagram post on Szeliga’s page, he claimed that he “envisioned a future,” with Saldaña but insisted that she had been lying to him and that he was a victim.
“I never thought I’d be one of those guys taken advantage of. Sharing for awareness. Abigail S. and I, since July 2021, we have been enjoying each other’s company,” Szeliga wrote, according to the warrant. “She’s so beautiful and personable that I envisioned a future with her. But dealing with all the lies is overwhelming, I realize that’s part of your primary job as an adult entertainer.”
Szeliga continued: “If you only leave your second job, being in a high-end prostitution ring we could move forward. Yes, this pays $2000 per session, but it’s illegal. And having a boyfriend whilst having sex with other men?!”
Saldaña, meanwhile, appeared to share a very different picture of the events, posting a video on her Instagram on Oct. 14 about a tracking device she found underneath her car, according to the warrant.
A cabaret manager showed Saldaña’s post to investigators, telling them that before her death the exotic dancer had expressed concern about a patron named Stan who they described as a military veteran.
“The manager indicated that Abigail was frightened of Stan because he was stalking and harassing her,” a copy of the warrant states.
Authorities said that footage obtained from a traffic camera near Saldaña’s apartment showed Szeliga’s red pick-up tailing Saldaña’s car. Investigators said that license plate records and additional surveillance footage from that intersection show Szeliga’s car passing the same spot near Saldaña’s home at least five other times before she was shot, which were indications of stalking.
According to police documents, Szeliga was arrested after initially agreeing to meet with detectives and then failing to show up. Police obtained a warrant to enter his home the night after Saldaña’s murder. After he refused to leave the residence, a SWAT team found him on a balcony in his apartment with wounds on his face and neck that appeared to be self-inflicted.
After being treated at a local hospital, Szeliga was charged in connection with Saldaña’s death on Thursday and is being held in the Tarrant County Jail with bond set at $250,000.
“He took her away from me, and I’m gonna make sure every time he has a court date, he will see my face there,” Contreras told WFAA, adding that her daughter was a hardworking and courageous mom. “He’s gonna see that Abby was never alone.”