Two bones found by a lake at Pease Pottage on Monday January 26 are those of a Crawley man who was reported missing last year, police said.
Jean Leveque, 42, of Hawth Close, Southgate, was reported missing by his family in May last year.
Police have confirmed that the bones, found by a fishing lake off Parish Lane, belonged to Mr Leveque.
The upper left hip bone and a lower left leg bone have been identified as a result of analysis by a forensic archaeologist and by DNA comparison.
A Sussex Police spokesperson said ‘extensive’ police enquiries had been carried out to try to find Mr Leveque, including media appeals to which his sister contributed.
He grew up in Mauritius before moving to Crawley in 2008.
Detective Inspector Mark Cullimore said: “This is a very sad time for Jean’s family, who have been desperate for news of him and have supported our own enquiries throughout the past nine months.
“We searched the area last weekend after the bones were found but no further remains were found. The death is being treated as unexplained, and there is no evidence to suggest it is suspicious. The facts will be reported to the coroner.”
An angler who found the bones while fishing at the pond said he is ‘troubled’ by the ‘spooky’ discovery.
Officers cordoned off the area around the lake for around four days after Lenny Wells, the chairman of Crawley Angling Society, saw the bones near the fishing spot.
The 65-year-old from Bewbush noticed the bones when he arrived at the lake to fish on the Monday morning.
He said: “I stood there looking at them and was trying to absorb whether or not they were human, and if they are that is a thing to come to terms with – it is not something you come across every day.
“I started fishing but I was conscious of the fact those bones were there and maybe I should call the police. It started to trouble me.”
After speaking to a fitness enthusiast neighbour, who said the larger bone resembled a human femur, and his son, Lenny decided to call police on Wednesday January 28.
Officers including a forensic team arrived on Thursday January 29 and remained there for around four days.
Lenny said: “When you see these programmes on the telly and see the amount of effort they are going to when something suspicious takes place, they are pulling out all the stops and they were clearly doing that.
“I do find it scary. I think the fact they are human bones is a bit spooky in itself, but how did they get there?”
Lenny added a fellow fishermen had not seen the bones while fishing in Parish Lane the previous day, Sunday January 25.
Police confirmed that no further bones have been found by search teams investigating the lake and nearby woodland.