The Chilling Story Of Killer Wade Ridley

In the modern world where we have technology at our fingertips, online dating has grown to considerable proportions. In 2017, this industry had a revenue of over 8 billion dollars, with no sign of slowing down (per Ask Wonder). With dating apps like Tinder exceeding 6.5 million users in 2021 (via Wired), the writing may be on the wall that traditional ways of hooking up are on the way out.

Most of us were warned as a kid about the perils we might encounter whenever we are approached by strangers. With so many "stranger danger" lectures given to children over the past few generations, it's a little surprising to learn that so many people are meeting people whom they've only read an online profile for or exchanged messages with. While there are many ways to research a person's background before a face-to-face encounter (it is the age of the internet, after all), not everyone who is meeting a potential suitor for the first time has bothered to do this sort of homework.

Ignoring the risks of meeting someone online has led to devastating consequences for countless people. But even with stories in the news about dating app serial killers like Khalil Wheeler-Weaver and serial rapist Danueal Drayton, the majority of Americans between the ages of 18 and 49 feel that dating apps and websites are a safe way to meet a potential partner (per Pew Research Center).

Wade Ridley meets Mary Beckman online

When Mary Beckman found herself single after the death of her longtime partner in 2010, her friends eventually encouraged her to set up a profile on, a popular dating site (via the Daily Mail). Though she might have been reluctant to do so, she established an account with the site that uses the slogan "start something great" to tempt users to get matched with the millions of potential matches who use the service. While purports that they have made millions of successful matches, the man Beckman met through the app didn't lead to a loving courtship that was capped off by a "happily ever after" ending to her tale. Rather, it resulted in a hellish nightmare that left the Las Vegas real estate agent stabbed, beaten, and left for dead.

Beckman was paired with a man named Wade Ridley. The two exchanged messages online and eventually agreed to meet in person. According to Beckman, the couple went on several dates before she eventually called the budding relationship off. She was turned off by his jealousy, and after 10 days, she sent him a text message saying that she just wasn't feeling a connection. Subsequent text messages from Ridley went ignored by Beckman, and they eventually subsided. She had moved on from their brief encounters and figured that Ridley had done the same after he stopped texting her.

The attack on Mary Beckman

On the night of January 21, 2011, Mary Beckman experienced a horrific attack. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that Ridley hid in Beckman's garage and lay in wait for her to return home that evening. When she arrived, Ridley emerged from his hiding place and stabbed Beckman a total of 10 times, only stopping when the blade broke. He then began stomping on her neck.

Thinking she was dead, Ridley left the scene. Beckman survived the attack from her would-be killer but was in bad physical and emotional shape. She required multiple surgeries to repair her jaw and remove part of her skull. Courthouse News Service tells us that she also needed surgeries to preserve both her eyesight and her hearing. She would take years to heal, but she survived.

Weeks later, a second victim of an attack by Ridley would not be so fortunate. Ridley traveled from Las Vegas to Phoenix, Arizona, where he lay in wait for Anne Marie Simenson to return to her home. Ridley and Simenson had met online in 2002 on the dating website, but their relationship was a tumultuous one. They were on and off for several years, and the turmoil in their relationship eventually led to each of them getting a restraining order against the other.

On the night of February 10, 2011, Ridley savagely beat and stabbed Simenson, using both a machete and butcher's knife (via CBS News). He then stole her vehicle and fled. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that he was arrested in Las Vegas several days after the murder on February 14.

Ridley had a kill list

While detained in jail in Nevada, Wade Ridley was questioned about the murder of Anne Marie Simenson. The now-retired Phoenix detective Paul Dalton was the one who read Ridley his rights. Recalling that moment, Dalton stated (per Daily Mail) that he knew at that time that Ridley "was going to tell us everything." Dalton revealed that Ridley had a "kill list" with several names on it, including Mary Beckman and Simenson. Others on that list were an ex-wife and his ex-wife's new boyfriend.

While being questioned about his role in Simenson's murder, Ridley revealed his role in the assault on Beckman. In a police video of his interrogation, Ridley made some chilling admissions. Citing his anger for Beckman's rejection of him, he recalled how he "just went into a rage. I went and grabbed one of her butcher knives ... People that I've hurt were people that had hurt me first. My brain just blew up." Ridley was shocked to learn that Beckman had survived the attack, thinking that he had killed her that evening.

He died in prison in 2012

Wade Ridley was charged with one charge of attempted murder with the use of a deadly weapon and one charge of armed robbery in Nevada. He took an Alford plea, which means that he acknowledged that prosecutors had a provable case against him, despite not admitting guilt (via The Las Vegas Review-Journal). He was in the middle of serving a 28- to 70-year sentence in state prison when he was found dead in his cell in May 2012 of an apparent suicide. He was awaiting extradition to Arizona, where he was facing a murder charge for the death of Anne Marie Simenson.

Before his mini crime spree, Wade was not a stranger to the criminal justice system. He had a history of violent behavior that included a criminal conviction in 1999 for domestic violence and one in 2001 for battery (per Courthouse News Service). Further in his life, Wade was also arrested and convicted of an attempted "suicide by cop" incident. These past incidents prompted Mary Beckman to file a $10 million suit against in 2013.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Beckman's suit against

Since 2013, Mary Beckman has battled in the courts against the web dating service. With several of her counts being dismissed by the courts, she has had some recent victories in appealing those lower court decisions. Courthouse News Service reports that the case has reached the three judges in the Ninth Circuit, who held the future of the suit in their hands. 

In 2013, a lower court had thrown out her suit. It consisted of five complaints against negligent misrepresentation, deceptive trade practices, negligent failure to warn, negligence, and negligent infliction of emotional distress (via Luminate). A federal court in Nevada allowed the lower court to dismiss the suit. Beckman was hopeful that her subsequent appeals to higher courts would yield a long-sought-after victory, but the suit was officially dismissed by the Ninth Circuit in November 2018, ending a long legal process.