At the time of the superflu outbreak, Susan is living in Ohio; she is an alumni of Kent State University.
Outside of Columbus, Susan is captured by "Doc" and "Virge" — former members of an Army detachment, sent to Akron during the plague in order to suppress the media and shoot looters. In the aftermath of the plague, they have been joined by two other thugs and form a violent gang, maintaining a "zoo" of eight captive women to be used as sex-slaves. One of their other captives is Dayna Jurgens.
The women are kept under control using pills dispensed at routine intervals by "Doc" (hence the nickname.) But when the gang spots Stu Redman's party and begins plotting to attack them, the "zoo" women hatch a counter-plot to fake taking their pills, so they will be alert enough to stage a revolt.
Doc's men intercept Stu's party, intending to kill the men and enslave the women. The "zoo" seizes this moment to launch its coup, wrestling their jailors for their firearms and distracting them long enough for Stu's party to begin firing on them. Between Stu's people and the rebelling "zoo" women, Doc and his gang end up slaughtered.
Susan becomes one of the founding members of the Boulder Free Zone Committee. It is at her recommendation that Dayna Jurgens is chosen as one of the scouts sent to spy on Randall Flagg's activities in Las Vegas. Susan herself broaches the subject with Dayna, and accompanies her westward as far as Colorado Springs.
On the way home Susan passes through Monument, Colorado. Pausing when she hears a the cries of a puppy in a storm drain, she coaxes the animal out. As it turns out to be a female Irish setter, the Zone plans to breed her with Kojak when she grows up.