Ward, a 20-year-old student at Durham University, was walking to her apartment from a party in the French ski resort of Val d'Isere Monday night when the accident happened, the Daily Mail reported Wednesday.
Police suspect she was walking in the wrong direction when she slipped on ice and went into the river, dying of hypothermia.
"The young woman had been enjoying herself with friends when she decided to set off home alone," one investigator said. "It was dark, of course, and temperatures were extremely low.
"She clearly got into difficulty as she tried to make her way across the resort. She fell heavily, but there is no sign of bruising or any other serious injury, suggesting that there was no struggle beforehand."
An autopsy found alcohol in her blood.