By J.D. Miles

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CORINTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The sight and sounds of Colton and Gavin Hohenberger playing at home are worth the $50,000 and the top secret surveillance operation it cost their dad had to get them back.

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“You cannot imagine what it is like to go 315 days and not know where your babies are,” says Bret Hohenberger.

The boys were recovered from a home in Hot Springs, Arkansas last week.

Their mother has been wanted since taking off with them early last year.

“I wasted months, thousands of dollars paying lawyers going to court the family hoping that the family courts would bring my children home,” says Hohenberger.

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The 30-year-old father says Corinth Police didn’t help so he finally hired a private investigator who found the mother in days and arranged for authorities in Arkansas to raid the home.

“I owe him my life because if it was not for him I likely would’ve never had these boys home again ever again,” says Hohenberger.

Corinth Police defended its work on the case telling CBS11, “The criteria for this situation did not fit an Amber Alert. We reached it out to the FBI and it did not meet their criteria.”

Hohenberger may have his kids back but feels for other parents who have a hard time finding children taken illegally across state lines.  He is one of the lucky few.

“It’s was amazing…  I’ll never forget that moment for the rest of my life,” says Hohenberger.  “I know how unlikely it is you ever recover your children when this happens.”

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