Durham police say a body found on the beach at Blackhall Rocks is that of a middle-aged man.
Superintendent Bill Dutton, said he could not confirm the body was that of deputy headteacher, Mark Bushnell, until formal identification had been carried out.
However, he said Mr Bushnell’s family had been informed and officers were with them today.
Supt Dutton said: “At 7.15am today we got a call from a member of the public who was walking between Blackhall Rocks and Blackhall saying they thought they had found a body on the beach.
“When officers arrived they confirmed the person was dead and the body had been washed up from the sea.”
He said police and forensic officers were on the scene for several hours while they made sure any forensic evidence was collected and the Coastguard assisted in the removal of the body from the beach.
The superintendent said: “There is nothing to suggest the finding of the body was in any way suspicious.”
Mr Bushnell, who worked at Durham School, left his home in Durham City on 9 March with some dirty laundry after the family’s washing machine broke down.
The father-of-three’s car was later discovered at a clifftop car park at Blackhall Rocks.
Coastguard and mountain rescue teams joined police for a major search operation, which ended just a few days ago.
Supt Dutton said he would like to thank everyone, including the public and Coastguard, who have helped in the search for Mr Bushnell.
He said: “If it does turn out to be Mark, it is obviously very tragic circumstances and very sad.”