In 2016, as she was ready to go with her family to a game, Zoe heard her parents fighting. Realizing this, Zoe interrupted them. Her father denied the fact that they're fighting, before telling her that they will go to the game without her mother.
When they came back, their house was a mess. Her father told her to go back to her room. Minutes later, Zoe came to her parents' room and saw a drug dealer pointing his gun at her mother's head. Zoe was told to return to her room. As the dealer knocked her mother's face, Zoe began to scream. Moments later, she found her mother dead on the ground. Rene asked her if she was okay before she showed him the body. Her father hugged her, and told her that everything was going to be okay. Following this she stayed with her father for a short time, however he was constantly drinking which left him in a intoxicated state. One night he was reheating some soup for dinner but passed out due to heavy drinking beforehand, leading to Zoe touching the pot and severely burning her hand. It was only due to her crying that Rene even woke up. This incident was what led to child services taking her away from her father but they did allow him full visitation rights under a court appointed guardian.
After the incident, Zoe was taken to a foster home. She continued to attend school in Star City, eventually becoming the goalie on her school's hockey team. Quentin Lance arranged for her to visit her dad in City Hall much to Rene's surprise. After talking to both his daughter and Quentin, Rene decided to start the legal process of regaining custody of Zoe. However, after Rene was captured by Adrian Chase, she was left disappointed. Rene gets back custody of her around Christmas time.