- "I hurt her, so bad..."
- —The stranger talking to Lee about his wife.[src]
Not much is known about Tess's life after the outbreak. Following the zombie apocalypse, Adam and his father went hunting in the forest outside of Macon in spite of Tess's protests that he was too young. Adam went missing while out hunting, and when Tess's husband returned to their camp without him, she grew furious with him. The whole family went out into the woods to search for him, but they never found any trace. Distraught at their son's disappearance, they returned to their car only to discover that someone had taken all of their supplies. The family grew hungry and cold, suffering at the probability that Adam would never return to them. Tess blamed her husband for all of their pain, ultimately choosing to take their daughter, Elizabeth, and leave him. They died within that very day and were found by the man they had left. Shocked out of his senses by the death of his whole family, Tess's husband cut off her reanimated head and kept it with him wherever he went, conversing with it as if she were still alive.
When he discovered Clementine on his radio one day and learned that her group had stolen his supplies, he plots his revenge and begins stalking them. He takes Tess and drives to Savannah when he heard Clementine saying that they would be going that way.
Tess's husband talks to her head in a bowling bag at the Marsh House after he had finished telling Lee Everett the story of what had happened to them. He quietly tells her that she would like Clementine, calling the girl sweet even though she was not their daughter. After the man's death, Lee has the option to look into the bowling bag and find the reanimated head within and tell Clementine not to look inside.
- Zombies (Assumed, Alive)
After blaming her husband for their son's disappearance and their supplies being taken, Tess took Elizabeth and abandoned her husband. A day later, she and her daughter were discovered by her husband on the road, either as walkers or corpses yet to reanimate. Either way, she was decapitated by her husband and her reanimated head was kept it for wherever he went.
- "I hurt her... so bad..."
- —The stranger about Tess.[src]
The stranger and Tess were married and loved each other, however, the apocalypse took a toll on their relationship, causing their love for each other to become strained. When their son Adam went missing after his father took him hunting in the woods and Lee's group stumbled upon their station wagon and looted all of their supplies, Tess took their daughter, Elizabeth, and left her husband, seeing him as the sole cause for all of their pain. He went looking for them later on and found them dead on the road.
The stranger then decapitated the zombified Tess and put her head in a bowling bag. He carries the bag with him, always reminding himself to avenge for his fallen family members.
Tess is Adam's mother, and she loved him earnestly. When Adam was lost in the forest, she was deeply distraught, going as far as putting all the blame on her husband, distrusting her husband's ability to keep them safe and abandoned him together with their daughter.
Tess is Elizabeth's mother, and she apparently loved her. It can be presumed that they have an normal and stable mother-daughter relationship, although this relationship is never well-explored. When Tess decided to abandon her husband, she also decided to bring Elizabeth with her. It is unknown whether Elizabeth preferred to go with her mother or stay with her father, or if she was even aware her parents were permanently separating at all.
- "No Time Left" (Zombified)