POLICE say it could take days to formally identify a body that was washed up on an East Durham beach.
The discovery was made at Blackhall Rocks in an area which had been the focus of an extensive search for the missing deputy headteacher of Durham School.
Durham Constabulary say identification is proving difficult as the body had been in the water for some time, but they do believe it is of the former teacher at Hartlepool Sixth Form College.
A post-mortem examination is due to take place today.
Chief Inspector Andy Huddleston, who has been leading the search, said “We are still in the process of formal identification procedures, but we do believe the body found on Saturday morning is that of Mark and his family and colleagues have been informed.
“There is thought to be no third party involvement in his death and a file is being prepared for the coroner.”
Mr Bushnell, 50, left his home in Durham City on March 9 and his car was later found at the cliff-top car park in Blackhall.
His wife, Joanna, reported him missing after he had been away from home for several hours and she couldn’t contact him.
Specialist teams, assisted by Cleveland Marine Unit and the Police Air Support Unit, carried out extensive land, sea and air searches after Mr Bushnell was reported missing.