- "I hurt her so bad..."
- —Stranger talking to Lee about his wife.[src]
Not much is known about Tess' life after the outbreak. Following the zombie apocalypse, Stranger and Adam went hunting in the forest outside of Macon. At one point, Adam came up missing, and upon her husband's return to their camp, Tess was distraught, calling him a "monster". After driving their station wagon to a different point to search, they departed it and search the area. Upon arriving back without Adam, they discovered that their supplies had all been looted, by Lee Everett, or, if you play it a certain way it is taken by the group of the ending of "Starved For Help", although it was unknown to them at the time. This was the last straw for Tess, and she and Elizabeth abandoned Stranger, traveling on foot by themselves. The next day, Stranger found both of them reanimated as zombies in a nearby street. Stranger decapitated her, kept her head in a bowling bag, and using it as emotional support by ranting to it.
- Zombies (Presumed)
After blaming her husband for their son's missing and their supplies' disappearance, she took Elizabeth and abandoned her husband. Days later, she and her daughter was discovered by her husband on roadside, either as walkers or corpses yet to reanimate. Either way, she was decapitated by her husband and her reanimated head was being kept in a bowling bag with her husband.
- "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 while 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. He went looking for them later on and found them dead in 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 and presumably died, 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 bringing Elizabeth with her, showing that she had a deep trust from Tess.
- "No Time Left" (Zombified)