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Monday, March 28, 2022

The Online Hook-Up From Hell

     In September 2010, Mary Kay Beckman, a 46-year-old mother of two from Las Vegas, met 50-year-old Wade Mitchell Ridley via the online dating service, Match.com. The couple had eight dates before Beckman realized there was something wrong with him and ended the relationship.

     On January 21, 2011, four months after his last date with Beckman, Ridley, armed with a butcher's knife, broke into her garage and waited for her to return home. When Beckman pulled into the garage and got out of her car, Ridley stabbed her ten times. In his attempt to murder his victim, Ridley also stomped her head and neck. Ridley left the garage that night thinking that he had killed Mary Kay Beckman.

     Mary Kay survived the brutal attack, but had to undergo surgeries to repair her jaw, preserve her eyesight, and to have a section of her skull replaced by a synthetic material.

     Shortly after the burglary and attempted murder, Las Vegas police arrested Wade Ridley. While in police custody, he confessed to the Beckman assault. Ridley also informed his interrogators that a few weeks before stabbing and stomping Mary Kay Beckman, he murdered a woman in Phoenix. The suspect said he had used a butcher's knife to stab 62-year-old Anne Simenson to death in her home. Just before murdering Simenson, a woman he had met on Match.Com, Ridley had stolen painkilling drugs from a pharmacist he had robbed at knife-point.

     On February 15, 2011, a prosecutor in Clark County, Nevada charged Wade Mitchell Ridley with the attempted murder of Mary Kay Beckman. In Arizona, a prosecutor charged Ridley with the murder of Anne Simenson.

     In September 2011, Ridley entered an Alford pleas to attempted murder with the use of a deadly weapon and armed robbery. (In so pleading, Ridley didn't admit guilt but acknowledged the state had enough evidence to convict him.) The judge sentenced Ridley to 28 to 70 years in prison.

     On May 17, 2012, a prison guard found Ridley hanging in his cell. The medical examiner ruled his death a suicide.

     Mary Kay Beckman, on January 25, 2013, filed suit against Match.Com in a Las Vegas federal court. Her attorney, Marc Saggese, told reporters that the basis of the $10 million civil action "is the advertising that is utilized by Match.Com, lulling women and men into a false sense of security." It is the plaintiff's contention that the dating service has a legal duty to warn its online customers that there might be people in the dating pool who are dangerous.

     The lawyer representing Match.Com responded to this assertion by saying the notion his client was liable for the behavior of a Match.Com member was absurd. The attorney for the defendant said the plaintiff was the victim of a "sick, twisted" man.

     If Match.Com lost this lawsuit, owners of bars where men and women meet could be held liable for hook-ups that led to one of the parties being criminally victimized. It would make fixing-up friends a risky proposition for match-makers. Who doesn't know that going out with a stranger met online, in a bar, or at a college fraternity party, isn't risky business? While Mary Kay Beckman was the victim of a terrible crime she was not a victim of Match.Com.

     On May 29, 2013, a federal judge in Nevada threw out Beckman's case against the online dating service. 


  1. Wow! I just got finished watching this episode and the only thing more shocking than what he did to her was that she is foolish enough to turn around and file a lawsuit against the dating service (which she actually chose to use) that was the facilitator. If that's not a picture of modern ambulance chasing (SHAME ON HER LAWYER TOO) I don't know what is.

    I certainly wish I were on the jury. As sad as her experience is, I would make sure that she received NOTHING!

    People need to be responsible for their own choices in matters such as these. If Match.com had FORCED her to go on dates with him, THAT would be another matter. As it is, she made choices which did not work out in her best interest.

    She might call that "being put in harms way."

    But most of us call it "life."

    1. There are many variables that this article is not publishing. As a close personal friend of Mary Kay, I will gladly stand up to your false accusations of calling her an ambulance chaser.

    2. No kidding! I think she should have been awarded some damages. I do believe it is the responsibility of dating sites to clearly describe crimes that have occurred to people meeting on the internet. More and more we have learned the deviousness of criminals but a few years ago I was pretty clueless and naive to the fact that it's an easy way to mask your identity and find willing victims to manipulate and assault, kill, scam etc. Teenagers and young adults especially need to be clearly forewarned. I'm astonished that people think that she basically got what she deserved for being so gullible or naive! Why wouldn't dating sites not want to clearly warn their customers? They probably think it would be bad for business!

  2. "The couple had eight dates before Beckman realized there was something wrong with him and ended the relationship."

    I'm willing to bet she had a feeling WAY before date #8 and ignored it.

  3. It's a dating site, not a vetting service.

  4. Sham on the idiot who blames a victim of being an ambulance chaser. If you did your research you would find there have been a number of tragic victims by the online dating service. I hope she gets treble damages and maybe we won't hear of another tragedy. This story was deeply disturbing.

  5. This story is horrible but I am glad the lawsuit got thrown out. Why is it Match.com responsibility that he was crazy? Did she sue her friends for suggesting she try online dating? She is an adult and if she had 8 dates with this guy he must have been "normal" enough for her to keep dating him. If I meet someone in the park and they turn out to be wacko do I sue the city? What if I meet someone at a charity event and they're crazy? Sue the charity? Think about it.

  6. One thing Match could do is provide a link to a website that will do a background check. They also could provide a link to a reverse image website so people could verify who they are dating. They could also maybe work with a background check company and provide many customers and in return those customers get background checks at a discount. I'm not saying Match is at fault but they could do more. Coffee meets Bagel will tell you if someone talking to you is a scammer. Match never does that.

  7. If the dating site had any knowledge, that the guy was dangerous, they obviously would have had the obligation to warn about him or drop his profile totally.
    As it seems, they didn't have that kind of knowledge suing them for not posting a general warning is ridiculous (in my humble opinion of course). In the and such a warning is none the different from a general warning, that there are weirdos of all kind out there.
    It's just the technical possibilities of the internet, that makes one feel like "They could have done this or that ...". In real life no one ever would demand the same. Take all the events for singles like dances; would one really expect a warning at the entrance or a link to possibilities for background checks? I know, I wouldn't.
    Such a lawsuit might be a way to externalize a feeling of guilt; like "Why didn't I see this coming, ... / What did I do wrong ...". But as much as the victim is not to blame for anything that happened, as she didn't do anything wrong. The same goes for the dating platform.

    There is one question, that should honestly be answered:
    "If there was a general warning on that dating-homepage, would this have kept the victim from using this site?"
    I am really in doubt about that